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How To Achieve Self-control In Everything You Do

The good thing about self-control is that it takes work. But the things most of us do to get us away from a bad or a crappy situation all have one thing in common: they are done out of sheer habit, not because it’s the right thing to do, it’s simply a habit.

It’s not as easy as it seems. When we begin to exercise self-control, we often do things that are more pleasant or less painful than we would like. This makes us forget what we’ve been trying to avoid. I have become more comfortable drinking and drug use due to this habit. At the same time, I have also had to confront situations that might have caused me trouble in the past. Even with more self-control, those moments always creep up on me. I do everything in good faith, but then, in the end, when I do what I want and when I see a better outcome than the one I had envisioned, I still feel sad. This is a common situation for an addict. Not only do I feel the same way when I am actually doing the action, I feel the same way about the consequences (or lack of consequences) of the action as well.

That’s not the case when we focus on the benefits of our actions. A great example of this is in the movie The Social Network .

In the movie, Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin are in a relationship that may go wrong at any moment. But what I love about this scene is that it makes it possible to feel empathy for each other even if they’re acting differently. I feel like they are each one in a lot of other ways, too: like they are both extremely ambitious, but they also have so much else going on in their lives that they don’t have time to focus on one another… I am not a great storyteller (that is not my forte) but I like to think that I am good at portraying emotions in a convincing form. And the emotions here are so powerful because of how much of a work of art it is. So powerful, in fact, that I could tell you that the scene is about a bunch of broken relationships that are slowly but surely getting back to a happier place. But I can’t help but wonder: is anything the same between them? Are these broken relationships that are slowly getting better or are they each still broken in a different way?

I suppose there’s a lot of personal choice when it comes to this point of view. But I think that there’s also a lot of personal choice when it comes to what we should feel. We all have different choices. But when we are doing things out of sheer habit the same things do not look different from one person to another. We are all affected by these same feelings all the time. We are all affected by what others think of us. And, even if all of our actions were self-controlled we would still always feel a bit of that emotion.

Self-control is work. But it’s not as hard as people think, particularly as we begin to learn our own habits. One of the best things you can do for yourself at this moment is find a book by an interesting author that discusses a concept related to self-control and have a few minutes to read it. I recommend David Macaray’s The Power of Will . If what he says about self-control is interesting to you, you may want to visit his website: macaray.org and also his Facebook page:  https://www.fb.com/macaray . 

And another option is to watch a TED episode on the topic:

https://www.ted.com/talks/david_macaray_on_the_power_of_the_will_how_to_make_better_life_choices 

David Macaray is a psychologist whose book  The Power of Will: Why We Can Change Our Beliefs, Our Lives, and Our Success  is an inspiration for me. In it, he describes his journey from being impulsive and being unable to control his emotions to becoming more of an expert and more conscious of his emotions, to becoming more of a control freak. He is the president of the  National Center for Self-Control in San Bernardino , CA and is a licensed psychologist.