Mindful Self-Assessment List Instructions

It is the purpose of this list to develop a clear look at current self-centered patterns of behaviors and past harms done to self and others. It is not necessary to list every person in your life in order to create this list. One page (and often less than one page) is enough to develop a clear look at your current behavior.

It is in your interactions with others that self-centered behaviors are most apparent. The list is developed by first listing those people that you are closest to and that you come in contact with on a daily or consistent basis. This should be 2 to 5 people.

Next list people you hope to avoid or are hiding from. Next list businesses or institutions you have been avoiding or owe money or other property to, including courts, police or tax agencies.

Next list those that you have harmed that are not already listed. If a second page is needed to list additional harms, please be certain that you are listing real harms. A harm is an intentional action you have taken that has resulted in causing physical, emotional, or financial suffering or loss.

Simple and unintentional annoyances with no lasting consequence are not harms. Over-emphasizing life’s common annoyances will often complicate this simple process.

To begin to develop the list note the people that are most important to you and that you interact with on a daily basis including immediate family, co-workers and close friends.

Next, list the people who would you not want to walk into this room and sit down next to you, who have you been avoiding.

Next, list the people who you have strong negative feelings about and what people or situations are occupying much of your thinking.

Next, list any businesses or institutions that you owe money or property to or that you have been avoiding.

Next, list the people who you have harmed, including yourself, that you haver harmed as a result of your addictive or compulsive behaviors.

Once you have created your list of people and institutions, review the following definitions:

(Refer to these definitions while filling the Mindful Self-Assessment)

Harm: Physical, emotional, or financial loss suffered by others or self as direct result of addictive behavior. A temporary upset or annoyance that has no lasting effect on others, ourselves, or a relationship, is not a harm. If a harm cannot be realistically identified it is not likely there is a harm to list.

Wrong Speech

  • Dishonest speech to yourself or others that is intended to establish or promote a view of self that is false and misleading, or to acquire an object or approval that is underserved.
  • Gossip or divisive speech is used to elevate yourself over another or to diminish another person. There is often an element of dishonesty or exaggeration in gossip or divisive speech.
  • Abusive or hurtful speech has the intention to cause harm and often results from self-centered fear and/or frustration.
  • Idle or unnecessary speech is speech that has no useful purpose other than provide for the further establishment of an ego-personality. Idle or unnecessary speech arises from a quality of mind that is anxious or unsettled, lacking concentration and mindfulness.

Wrong Action

  • Hurtful actions are actions that due to mindlessness and wrong intention result in harms to others or yourself.
  • Dishonest actions such as theft or more subtle actions intended to mislead arise from a belief in entitlement and lack, both qualities of mind rooted in a deluded view of self.
  • Sexual misconduct is using sexual relationships in a selfish or hurtful manner and is often lacking generosity and self-lessness.
  • Selfish behavior is any behavior that puts one’s own needs above the needs of another and results in less than compassionate and mindful behavior. 

Wrong Livelihood

  • Dishonest livelihood is earning a living through deception, outright stealing, or misleading presentation.
  • Hurtful endeavors are engaging in earning a living that results in harms to others or to society.
  • Dealing in intoxicants is always hurtful and is to be avoided.
  • Hurtful Weapons: Engaging in the sale of weapons with the knowledge that or intention that the weapons will be used to harm others.

(Refer to self-assessment list example)

Beginning with the first person on your list, the sharing partner asks if there is any of the qualities of wrong speech associated with the person. Put a check in the appropriate box if there is any dishonesty or gossip or unnecessary or hurtful speech. (✓) If a harm has been done as a result of the wrong behavior, draw a square (or circle) around the check to denote a harm done. (þ) You making an amends list as you complete you self-assessment.

Continue with the rest of the checklist putting a check as appropriate until the self-assessment is completed for the first person. Do the same with the remaining people and institutions on the list. Not everyone on the list will have checks and in some cases there may be very few self-centered characteristics listed. Many people realize after a mindful self-assessment has been completed that they are not as “bad” or as influential as they thought.

Taking an extremely harsh view of yourself, thinking that you behavior is worse than it actually is, and that your behavior has had a deep and profound effect on others can also be characteristic of self-centeredness. None of us are unique in our behavior or in our addictive behavior.

Once the inventory is complete, you will have a clear picture of your patterns of self-centered behavior and harms done, and a clear understanding of what to mindfully recognize and intentionally abandon as your recovery develops.

Once you have completed the Mindful Self-Assessment, reverse roles with your sharing partner and perform the same service for them.

(At a workshop or when working with others.)

You are learning how to assist others with their recovery. Assisting others with a Mindful Self-Assessment is a very effective way of developing selflessness and being of service to others with addictive and compulsive behaviors.

If during Mindful Self-Assessment it is found that more discussion is needed to find relief from severe trauma or long-hidden misdeeds, seek the further assistance of a qualified therapist. Remember that none of us as sharing partners are counselors or therapists and it is not the intent of the Mindful Self-Assessment to address every possible psychological or emotional problem. Mindful Self-Assessment is only meant to uncover manifestations of self-centered behavior that would otherwise lead to more addictive behavior.

You now have a useful list of your current behavior and any harms you may have done as a result of your addiction. This provides a realistic view and understanding of what has been driving addictive thoughts, words, and actions. Being mindful of your self-centered characteristics will bring the ability to change your behavior and build a foundation of recovery based on the principles of selflessness and the Eightfold Path.

Addiction and compulsive behavior is rooted in self-centered thoughts and resulting actions. Mindfulness Based RecoveryTM brings to mind the specific behavior that leads to continued addiction and provides the means to recognize and abandon addictive thoughts, words, and deeds.

Beginning with the amends process, ongoing Mindful Self-Assessment, meditation, healthy activities, and service to others will support selflessness and an addiction-free life.

This same list will be used in daily Mindful Self- Assessment and is available for free download at MindfulnessBasedRecovery.com.

Copyright 2015, 2016 John Haspel MindfulnessBasedRecovery.com

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