"Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping him up."
Isn’t it amazing how sometimes we feel as if we’re better than others? While we may not knowingly exhibit this kind of condescending attitude, the truth is that it often shows on our faces. For those of us in recovery, you’d think we’d know better, but sometimes it takes a gentle reminder for us to recognize that we’re engaged in such behavior.
Why is it wrong to be smug, to feel as if we know something another doesn’t, or to act as if we’ve got all the answers? For one thing, it isn’t very charitable. It doesn’t say much about our character or our humility. In fact, it says something we’d probably rather not have broadcast about. It says that we don’t really care about other human beings and their feelings, or that we’re too wrapped up in our own concerns.
Something else may be at work here as well. It may just be that we’re trying to compensate for our own feelings of inadequacy. Maybe what we’re doing is trying to project an outward display of having it all together when, in fact, we are feeling rather uncertain or fearful inside.
If any of this strikes close to home, don’t worry. There is something we can do about it. The first step is always the hardest - recognizing that we’re doing it. The next step is to take action to change our behavior. This holds as true in how we deal with others as it does in our recovery.
We may not be aware that we’re being condescending to others. One way to check this is to ask our closest friends, sponsor and family members how we’re portraying ourselves. Be sure to keep an open mind and be receptive to what we hear, since it may not be all that pleasant.
Remember the saying from the Bible, "Let he among you who is without sin, cast the first stone." Not that being condescending to others is a sin, but it certainly isn’t very nice. And none of us is without our own fallibility. We’ve all got some amends to make; we’ve all hurt others as a result of our addictive behavior, something that we’re working on changing in the present.
If you can relate to this, or this is something you struggle with, you can change! Here are just a few suggestions:
First, make it a point that you’ll say only something nice to or about another person today. If you find yourself ready to blurt out something that’s less than kind, zipper your lip and don’t say it.
Second, go out of your way to do or say something nice to another without looking for anything in return.
Third, focus on the positive in the people around you. Remind yourself that people are like mirrors; whatever I don’t like in them is usually a quality that lies within me!