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21 Attitude Principles for Lust Struggles

Principle 1: Fixing the foundations of ourselves & of the world

The struggle with lust is a struggle with the deepest human emotions. And therefore, fixing these emotions fixes a person deeper than anything else.  The foundation of a building is underground and no one sees it, but it holds up the entire building.  If the foundation of a Jew is weak, his whole spiritual structure is fragile and in grave danger of collapse.

Principle 2: Fear of Heaven can’t always stop us, but it can PUSH us

Often we are aware of how serious these sins are, yet our “Fear of Heaven” alone isn’t always enough to stop us when faced with an attack of lust. It’s not that we don’t fear Hashem, but will power alone is often not sufficient when dealing with these extremely addictive behaviors.

Principle 3: You are not alone

Almost everyone struggles with lust on some level, and a high percentage have stumbled in these areas as well.  In the GYE community, you will find thousands of religious Jews like yourself, struggling in these areas.

Principle 4: Determination is completely up to us

The biggest obstacle to succeeding is not believing you can succeed. The first impediment to overcoming this struggle is not in your genes, your childhood or your environment. If you believe you can succeed and are willing to make the effort, you will find the way out.  Absolutely NOTHING stands in the way of a true RATZON.

Principle 5: No pain no gain

By nature, we go to what feels good and try to avoid pain.  Pleasure and suffering are both part of life. But we get to choose which pleasures we want and which suffering we want.

Principle 6: Making it a top priority

Nothing worthwhile comes without hard work.  One of the greatest obstacles stopping a person from changing is the notion that it can be done without a lot of investment.  We tend to forget that our whole purpose on this world is to grow and improve.

Principle 7: True fulfillment vs. false fulfillment

The Yetzer Hara's job and goal is to cause us damage, and to do this he was given permission to use pleasure and "Sipuk" (fulfillment) as a bluff to be able to harm us. But we must understand that his seductions are like a terrorist offering us a piece of cake to ensnare us.

Principle 8: “With cunning make your battle” (Mishlei 24:6)

We are unlikely to succeed if we try to fight the Yetzer Hara head on.  Just like terrorists are often successful because they don’t try to fight a big army head on, we must also learn to apply guerilla warfare and pre-empt the Yetzer Hara.

Principle 9: Learning to love Hashem through this struggle

This struggle is the fertile soil that our “true” selves will grow out of. And through it, we learn how to give our hearts over to Hashem. And hopefully we will be able to look back one day and say that it was all worth it.

Principle 10: Redirecting the power in our souls

We have often discovered that we were trying to fight only the Yetzer Hara, rather than building and changing ourselves. For true long term success, we must learn to fight the cause of the bad behaviors and not just the symptoms.

Principle 11: Dealing with thoughts and fantasies

Everyone has these fantasies. Some people more, some people less. We are human beings and not angels.  If it bothers you that you struggle with these thoughts, that is already something to be proud of.  The moment we start to look at ourselves in a positive light, we will see that the fantasies will come much less often.

Principle 12: Catching ourselves as we slip

Even if we started to slip, we can achieve the greatest levels of Kedusha by stopping ourselves from sliding further.

Principle 13: Every Little Bit Counts

We must believe that coin after coin are added to our “spiritual bank” every time we say “no” to the Yetzer Hara, no matter how insignificant it may seem to us at the time.

Principle 14: It’s never all or nothing

The notion that we must always succeed actually turns us into easy prey for our Yetzer Hara.  When an army goes out to battle, do they always win?  Are there never casualties?  People injured?

Principle 15: Hashem looks at our efforts, not the results

Hashem doesn’t seek great successes and big achievements from us. Whether we succeed in a big way or not, is ultimately His business. All He asks from us is that we try to get a little stronger every day and do what we can at this point in time.

Principle 16: Getting back up after a fall

If we experience a fall, we must never let it get us down.  Getting depressed is exactly what the Yetzer Hara wants, and it leads to a vicious cycle of continued falls.  This is the truest test of an eved Hashem.

Principle 17: Don’t dwell on the past

Although the spiritual damage we cause by acting out is very great, we must accept that Hashem brought us into this situation and that it is not all our fault. Let us never dwell on how it happened, or on past falls.

Principle 18: Guilt vs. Shame

Hashem doesn’t make defective goods. There is never room for despair or shame. Healthy “guilt” is important.  The guilty feelings we have are a gift from Hashem that come from the inherent good inside every Jew.

Principle 19: We don’t lose past gains after a fall

If we were trying to stay clean and had a fall, we must realize that we haven’t lost anything that we gained until now. We simply have to get up and continue from where we left off.

Principle 20: Experience is built out of failures

Experience that makes a man ultimately successful is always earned through his initial failures. The difference between a successful person and a failure is not the number of times they fell, but rather the number of times they got up again.

Principle 21: There’s always hope

There is always hope, even from what seems to be the deepest depths of sin and despair.