“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” Michelangelo
Observant readers would have seen that I have changed the top of the page to better reflect the objectives of The Three Resolutions in three words. The ‘new’ R-word that reflect The Second Resolution is Refinement.
Please don’t think I am going to promote or counsel the adoption of better speech, tidier dress and the lifting of the little finger when taking tea, even if adoption of the first two of those suggestions wouldn’t please me. If you want to be scruffy and sound like a half-wit, good for you.
I am writing about, and proposing the adoption of a focus on making your own behaviour more closely match the behaviours that you believe reflect the ‘best you’ that you can possibly be. The Second Resolution covered this in using the words ‘To overcome the restraining forces of pride and pretension I resolve to work on character and competence’.
Refinement is the physical manifestation of the metaphor used by Michelangelo. It’s about chipping away at those things – habits, characteristics, emotions and activities – that don’t serve us or which get in our way.
Having decided (Resolved) where you aren’t behaving the way you know you should, Refinement means identifying and adopting the behaviours, values, etc. that you know will serve you much better.
Emphasise – YOUR behaviours, values, etc. – not mine.
That said, people of good character will, in the main, all behave in much the same way as each other. Their speech patterns and dress may be different but they will be honest, congruent, dedicated and just plain ‘good people’. Their values will be similar even if their way of executing on them may change.
BUT don’t be scruffy and tell me you’re rebelling. (Have you noticed how anarchists all dress the same?) Don’t say ‘actually’ and ‘obviously’ and ‘like’ every second word and then deny that you’re allowing yourself to be subject to environmental determinism. (Or use the new opening word that appears to have replaced ‘Yeah, I mean’, – the insidious viral term ‘So’.)
When you do those things you are no longer in charge of you. You’re not living. No. YOU’RE BEING LIVED. You are allowing outside influences to subliminally dictate your behaviours for you.
Refinement means YOU decide what characteristics you want to possess or demonstrate – and then chipping away at the marble until the real, self-designed you finally appears.
It isn’t easy. Right now I am battling with a constant desire to pick at food when I should be losing weight. (See my weight loss plan, below!)
But in the final analysis you can only say ‘I am who I intend to be’ when you have refined yourself enough to be exactly that. Until then, resolve to (re)design yourself – and then get to it!