Shlomo Ezagui

Good Resolutions: Conflicting Emotions and Embracing Personal Growth

Arun Clarke

Good resolutions hold significant value in our lives, even if we stumble and feel like hypocrites along the way. It is natural to experience conflicting emotions due to the choices we make or fail to make. The presence of guilt signifies our conscience and serves as a guide for self-reflection. Good resolutions, originating from a place of genuine intent, have the potential to lead us to a better and more meaningful existence.

The Dual Nature of Human Identity:
Within each of us, two complete and comprehensive identities exist—a concept often described as the animal and Godly souls. The animal soul continually urges us towards negative behaviors, drawing us away from true happiness and purpose. In contrast, the Godly soul encourages selflessness and dedication to our intended purpose, fostering a sense of meaning and genuine self-esteem.

The Power of Choice:
Central to our identity is the unadulterated free choice—the “I” within us. Until adulthood, the animal and bodily soul predominate. However, upon reaching maturity, the Godly soul and its illuminating light gain full strength, tasked with guiding us towards growth and fulfillment of our potential. While the allure of the animal soul persists throughout our lives, we possess the capacity to rule over it through conscious choice.

The Influence of Good Resolutions:
Each sincere resolution to improve ourselves strengthens the good within us while simultaneously weakening the negative aspects. By making a conscious decision to be better, we grant power to the Godly side of our nature. This choice reminds us of the direction in which we seek divine guidance. According to the wisdom of Maimonides, every choice we face should be approached as if it were the only choice, recognizing that the good remains inherently good and the bad remains inherently bad.

The Role of Guilt and Overcoming Setbacks:
When we fail and experience guilt, it signifies the pain felt by our good side over the temporary setback. Ignoring these feelings would be akin to dismissing the pain we feel when physically hurt. It is important to acknowledge and learn from our guilt, using it as a catalyst for growth. The feeling of hypocrisy and hopelessness is a trap set by the negative inclination, designed to discourage us from persevering on the path of improvement.

The Power of Light and Positive Direction:
Light naturally possesses greater strength than darkness. The Godly and good inclination that emanates from our minds is inherently more potent than the temptations of the heart. The will to do good has the ability to overpower the inclination towards wrongdoing. Each time we make a genuine resolution, we fortify the forces of goodness within ourselves, signaling to the Divine our desire for assistance on our chosen path.

Despite our challenges and conflicting emotions, good resolutions hold immense value in our lives. They have the capacity to strengthen our inherent goodness, suppress the negative aspects of our nature, and guide us towards a more purposeful existence. Embracing guilt as a tool for self-reflection and learning allows us to overcome setbacks and persevere on our journey of personal growth. By recognizing the power of choice and aligning ourselves with the Godly soul, we can navigate conflicting emotions and ultimately experience a more meaningful and fulfilled life.

Chapter 131

About the Author
Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui is an author and lecturer. "A Spiritual Soul Book" ( & "Maimonides Advice for the 21st Century" ( In 1987, Rabbi Ezagui opened the first Chabad Center in Palm Beach County, Florida, and the first Orthodox Synagogue on the island of Palm Beach, Florida.
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