Self Control and Temptation

What is self control and how to handle it?

A lot of people think self control is all about not eating a dozen donuts at once, or not punching the lights out of a stranger who whistled at your wife. They always look at control as a list of ‘nots’.

This is a sure way to failure. If you make everything focused on the negative things that you must NOT do, you will always be miserable! You will forever be focused on inner battles, making them harder because you have made NOT doing things the point of your existence.

The true way to self control is to focus on the positive! You already know what you need to NOT do, so stop focusing on it. Instead, look for the things you SHOULD do, you HAVE TO do and fill your thoughts with ways to expand your life instead of restricting it.

If all you ever think about is what you are missing out on or what you are denying yourself, you will be discontent. You need to examine your motives and decide if they are valid, and learn to choose your battles.

Your reasons for not eating donuts might be that you have diabetes and it will endanger your health (a valid reason); or because you perceive yourself as fat and you will experience guilt if you ‘give in’(not the same thing). In one case the consequences are serious - in the other, they may be all in your head, and what you really need to do is give yourself permission to eat an occasional donut!

Controlling your temper is often a different thing altogether - the consequences for losing your temper are more likely to be more severe for yourself and others. Occasionally, however, it can be helpful to blow off steam, even if you just lock yourself in a room and let out a good yell. There is a difference between a healthy release and a harmful one!

The problem with thinking control is about not doing things is that the solution then is to do nothing at all. This allows the temptation to become almost unbearable, because all you are thinking about is your urge to eat the donut, or smash the jerk’s face in.

The key to self control is redirection

Don’t stand with your fists clenched at your sides, letting the pressure build up. Don’t spend the whole morning yearning for the donut you cannot have. Find a way to release your feelings that is non-destructive!

Locate a recipe for a special treat you can eat instead of starving for the donut, and enjoy the taste and the knowledge that what you are eating is not only delicious, but good for you. Join a gym and work off your violent urges by building your physique.

Either scenario will ultimately release endorphins that will make you feel good instead of bad. Self control doesn’t have to be all about denial - it can be about granting things to yourself as well!

Control doesn’t mean taking away choices - it means providing better ones.

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