Another dose of Fr. Marc Foley:
Even though I believe that by the grace of God I am not the man I was thirty-five years ago, for I can honestly say that much emotional healing has taken place in my heart. Nevertheless, during times of stress, when my old fears and neurotic compulsions well up within me in all their savage intensity, I feel that nothing has changed. I say to myself, ‘When will I ever be rid of this fear?’
Once I could accept the answer ‘Never’ I felt a great weight taken off my shoulders. For I was released from the impossible goal of trying to become someone other than myself. ‘Working on yourself’ can be an insidious mask of self-hate for it makes you feel that there is something wrong with you until you are ‘healed.’
I have often told people who come to me for spiritual direction to never make it a goal to conquer their faults. Simply ask for the grace to resist the temptation at the moment. Take it for granted that you will always have tendencies toward certain sins and self-destructive behaviors, which will always be opportunities to grow in virtue and rely upon the grace of God.