The individual can attain self-control in great things only through self-control in little things. He must study himself to discover what is the weak point in his armor, what is the element within him that ever keeps him from his fullest success. This is the characteristic upon which he should begin his exercise in self-control. Is it selfishness, vanity, cowardice, morbidness, temper, laziness, worry, mind-wandering, lack of purpose?—whatever form human weakness assume in the masquerade of life he must discover. He must then live each day as if his whole existence were telescoped down to the single day before him. With no useless regret for the past, no useless worry for the future, he should live that day as if it were his only day,—the only day left for him to assert all that is best in him, the only day left for him to conquer all that is worst in him. He should master the weak element within him at each slight manifestation from moment to moment. Each moment then must be a victory for it or for him. Will he be King, or will he be slave?—the answer rests with him.
— William George Jordan, The Kingship of Self-Control (1898)
I have no problem publicly admitting that “hopelessness” is the weak point in my armor.
It drains a man of the will to do anything, and leads to all manner of substance abuse (not necessarily in my case, but I can see it happening).
What is St. Paul’s formula?
Faith, Hope, and Love.
These proceed from each other…which makes me wonder about the origin of my hopelessness.
There are three things I do to “shore up” this part of my armor.
1. I’ve cleansed my body from the ravages of the common American diet. Parents pour refined sugar down the gaping throats of their children. This happens for years at a time, until the body has a systemic overgrowth of bad parasites and yeast, which cause depression and other mental deficiencies. I fixed this to ensure that whatever hopelessness I feel is the result of actual affairs, and not physical ailment.
2. I improve my prayer / devotional life – it must be ritualistic in function and sincerity. This works on the “faith” part of St. Paul’s formula, building “hope” by natural extension.
3. I meditate on the people and things I love, which includes living in the old literature; “breathing the air of Europe” as it were…and forcing myself to let fly my anger whenever I see a news report, TV show, or whatever other abomination-causing-desolation. Keeping it inside for the sake of social propriety, is damaging to the soul.
Now, I invite the demons from hell to check my handiwork, and try hitting this area of my armor. The harder they strike, the more it will ring … and if you’re all lucky, the “ringing” will manifest in my writings which will be better for it.