Overcoming Ourselves

In my last post I wrote about how we are completely caught up in ourselves.  In this post I am going to talk about overcoming ourselves.  I’ve touched on the philosophical element of this idea in the past when I’ve talked about how we should seize our autonomy (become our own rulers).  This post is going to be more more about the practical side of the endeavor.  The following is an account of good behaviors and tenants that I try to act upon to rule myself.


First I want to say that I do not think it is always bad to go with the flow of the world, but it is I think of paramount importance that we acknowledge that we are doing so.  Many of my points are not about ‘absolute control’ but more ‘self awareness.


Negative emotions are the world intruding upon us.  Anger, sadness, jealousy, etc.  Nothing is going to stop us from feeling them – we are inevitably emotional.  If we are not cautious however, these emotions can control us entirely.  I think that one of the most important principles of self-control is to attend to our emotions.  If we watch them, we can see how they shift and change the world.


Routine is another element that is of extreme importance.  It is both one of the greatest tool’s of and greatest danger to our autonomy.  We build routine automatically, we are always seeking to repeat ourselves.  We can lose ourselves completely in routine, we can drown in it.  By the same coin, it can be turned against itself.  From a state of self rule, we can built a bulwark of routine against the world.  Self-ruler-ship takes willpower, and we have only a finite supply.  Building routines with willpower allows us to ease the psychological burden that will power activities take.  Exercising once takes willpower, for example, but going for a run every day at the same time becomes automatic.


Ego is another of the most powerful forces arrayed against self-ruler-ship.  This may seem odd, since we tend to think that our ego is, well, us.  The ego I’m speaking of however is the way that we come between ourselves and the world.  We become so caught up in our presence in the experience that we warp it and distort it.  We get angry in conversations, we become stressed in our jobs, etc, etc, because we become so focused on the immediate that lose the larger picture that we are capable of grasping.


Let me know what you think,


Ryan Workman


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