Application - that is what 'Workings-days' are about!
Having looked so much at the negatives of life, what are the positives which will redress the balance? They are rather fewer in number; light will always conquer the dark!
Many of the negative traits can be tracked back to egoism. We are all subject to our 'little self'; it is the ego which smarts. Vanity, pride, 'mine-ness' all lead to character downfall. Even if we are not overtly egoistic, (we cannot all be chest-thumping hulks and alpha-types), make no mistake, ego is present. It is the part of us which gets prickly when we perceive (rightly or wrongly) anything resembling disrespect, where we feel our 'property' has been interfered with, where we think we have been criticized. Ego can take a mild rebuke and build it into a declaration of war. Ego seeks approval and praise and when this is not received, ego can twist into all sorts of strange characteristics. At the very least it can cause us to sit in our own misery. Fear of 'loss of ego' prevents us taking any steps to improve ourselves and we look always to the other to do the improving. We fail to see that ego blocks us from obtaining the happiness we so desire.
There will be a lot more discussion on how the ego-self manifests in the future. At this point it is important to understand that 'ego' is not personality. In common parlance the lines get blurred in this regard. Ego is that which motivates us. It is the drive to take action. Therefore ego is a required component. ...keyword - "component"… of our personality. As with anything else, if that component becomes dominant it causes problems.
Thus we can quite easily point to someone who is brash and self-serving and call it as egoism. Rarely though do we recognise the ego at work behind our own sense of competition in the sport we play, or the hobby we enjoy... or the enlightenment we seek. The severely depleted ego is equally unbalanced and leads to the anxiety states, the shyness and bitterness and the melancholic states.
To balance the ego by cultivating virtues such as compassion, forgiveness and such like is to bring the ego under our control and develop a healthy self-esteem. Reaching for this 'centre of self' state requires determination.
Is a resolution, to create a fixedness of purpose. It is a firm resolve to conquer. This is often seen as being a 'manly' trait, but it is only a mental habit of clarity of purpose and the focused notion to stick to that purpose. Determination can reside in even the most timid… to remain in the familiar safety of that timidity. If that determination can be turned to the pursuit of raising one's esteem, imagine the results! Somehow we can all determine that we would rather remain as we are. Take care not to confuse determination for stubbornness. It might tip over into that if, in our determination we become arrogant and cannot see when, perhaps, there is need to alter course a little or review the course or even the goal. Determination is clear and inclusive; stubbornness can be unclear and abusive. In the first, we plot our course fearlessly. In the second we lose the plot.
Make a resolution today itself. Determination is setting up some goal, laying out the limits within which to act, then resolve to get on with it. Decision (choice) marks the beginning of action; determination is the mental process behind taking up the action; resolution holds one steady within the action.
Beware! Such fundamental change to our modus operandi requires support; if there is doubt, ask questions; if you falter, dust off, breathe and start over; wavering and fickleness must be analysed for their source - is it the ego saying it thinks it is done or is it fear of the change?; hesitation is a kind of safety mechanism, a self-preservation switch - cut it off and understand that, again, fear is behind it. Look around at others who have achieved what you are attempting now. Know it to be safe and worthwhile.
Strengthen your will and cultivate determination.
Next week we shall start looking at the proven 'positives' which can take us along the path we are now determined to travel.