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by David Truman

Many times, when we say we've been "defeated" in life, we've actually won. We found a way to get something we secretly wanted. For example: A man sabotaged his success at work, and got fired. Was he defeated? Not necessarily. What if he wanted to escape the responsibility for working? In that case, when he lost his job, he won. Similarly, a failed marriage or friendship could be a victory for living alone. Consciously or not, winning reflects what we value most.

Surely you've all heard about the "good fight" -- the struggle between good and evil, negative tendencies and constructive ones, Spirit and ego. Though we speak of being defeated by inner demons, it's hardly a defeat when we "give in" to negative tendencies or temptations. Why? Because we did what we most wanted to do.

People tend to view the power of ego -- or evil, or bad habits -- with awe. DON'T! To picture oneself as a victim, even of one's own negative choices, is deluded (or perhaps deceptive). In reality, the problem we have is not powerlessness, but rather, the misuse of power.

Even though we chose them, many of our ego-styled "victories" have painful side-effects. But conveniently, ego-mind has a way of ignoring the downsides of bad choices, and encouraging us simply to accept miserable conditions as victims. Ego will even go to ridiculous lengths to praise the "upsides" of conditions that are, in fact, terrible to the heart. For example: "My relationship ended, but that's fine by me, because now I have more time for my hobbies."

Of course, there are times when it's wise to end a dead-end relationship. But make no mistake about this: If it has its way, ego will have us trade a cow for a dog, trade the dog for a rat -- and be happy with the bargain!

No matter how much suffering we bring upon ourselves, we are not victims. Our mighty will is at work every day, and at any given moment, what we have is what we want. That means we do win -- always. The only question is, what our victory will be. We create according to the dominant goals of our mind and heart.

Any time you like, you can look at your choices, look at their results, and change your position. If you ever really want something else, you'll surely have it. And if changing what you want requires getting a grip, you will. No matter how out of control you feel you are, it's not true. You're always in control. You can beat your negative tendencies whenever you really want to. So remember:

The ONLY power ego has is the power we give it.

Negative tendencies only win if we LET them win.