“Spite shall not hinder me from continuing to praise that life which I do not, indeed, lead but which I know I ought to lead, from loving virtue and from following after her albeit from a long way behind her and with halting gait.” – Seneca
Discouragement is a big part of attempting mastery of any subject. The discouragement that accompanies the feeling of failure when the subject of mastery of ourselves is immense. Fear of this feeling is likely what leads us to react to another person’s attempt to master themselves with mockery or doubt. It is a difficult path that requires a lot of reflection, to plan out what the best version of ourselves would look like, to aim for that and then to make the necessary adjustments along the way when we realize how naive our initial idea of our best selves was.
While there is a certain freedom that comes with the realization that we will never reach the point where our goal is met and our self mastery has been completely attained, we can use the same point as a reason to become complacent. Rather than focusing on the fact that we will never fully attain self mastery we should be taking a daily inventory of how we are doing along the way and then making the necessary changes to be a little better tomorrow than we were today.
And then we should be able to look back in one month and see that we have made small amounts of progress, and yearly we should be able to see how far we have come.
And we should never stop.
virtus fortis vocat