I like to think I have a fair amount of self-control. I gauge what I say before I say it. I know, for the most part, when I’m being irrational and tend to refrain from making decisions during those times. I know, again, for the most part, what is good for me in terms of my short terms goals and long term goals and consciously try to weigh my actions before making them.
Does this action align itself with my goal? If not, am I ok with the results that will come from it?
I feel like self-control is awareness. It’s being conscious about your choices and how they affect not only yourself but the people and environment around you.
Awareness takes energy, time, effort. It’s not easy. It’s draining and might be one of the reasons as an introvert I find socializing to be as taxing as it is. There’s more input to contend with, sift through, and analyze before acting or responding.
It’s easier when it’s just me.
Are there times when exerting self-control is easier, and other times more difficult? For example, do you exhibit self-control with food, but not with your phone? Or do you have more self-control at school than at home? Why?
I think I have a same level of control in most areas of my life. I don’t have less control over myself in regards to food. I know what my health goals are. If I want a piece of cake I have it, but I keep in mind that having it all will make reaching my goals harder.
I know what the health effects are of too much sugar or salt in my system. I know I’ll have a hard time sleeping if I have that cup of coffee after 2 pm. Alcohol is fun but one beer is essentially 7 slices of bread. Am I ok with that?
Sometimes I am, other times it’s not worth it, so I don’t do it.
I don’t think of it as self-control so much as “there are consequences for your actions. Are you ok with your consequences?” Again, awareness. There’s the conscious thought of, “this will result in something later. Am I know with that result?”
I have less “self-control” when my grief flares up. And really I don’t think of it as having less self-control or awareness. During those times my goals drastically change. My goal while I am contending with my grief is survival. Health goals, social goals, even career goals fall to the wayside. The only thing that matters is making sure emotionally I remain ok.
Staying at home wrapped up in a warm blanket not having to explain to people that I’m sad because my mom died seems better than going out and trying to fake happiness that I don’t feel. I try not to let that interfere with my attendance at the dojo. I try not to let that affect what I eat, but sometimes I really do just want to stay home eating a pizza and to not having to worry about dishes.
Sometimes I really do what that cigarette or that drink that I make too strongly because I know it will help me get through a moment of intense pain. That’s most likely self-medication and I know there are other ways to deal with the pain I feel. To me, as long as I make it through the moment then I’m doing ok since the main goal in my life reduces down to survival. I can’t do anything if I don’t survive through the wave of grief, and sometimes that alone is the hardest struggle there is.
When the question ricochetting around in your head is, “What’s the point of living when mom is dead?” it seems more ok to eat pizza and watch mindless anime because there’s comfort. There’s breathing. There’s not having to worry or give a fuck. There’s a reason to keep going even if at the moment of my grief I can’t remember what it is. The main point is to not become lost in my grief and to find my way back to acceptance of the reality I live in. Sometimes indulging or having a “lack” of self-control allows me to find the comfort I need to keep going.
Actually… I guess it would be all the time since I’m still here…
What strategies do you use for exercising self-control, such as the distraction and distancing methods mentioned in the article?
I feel like don’t really exercise anything in regards to maintaining self-control. I guess since I analyze everything before I do it, I could say I use my brain, but that sounds sort of dickish.
I don’t buy boxed meals like Hamburger Helper anymore because I know it doesn’t line up with my health goals even though I’m sure I would still like the taste of them.
I don’t drink soda anymore for the same reasons. When I go out I might sometimes get a sweet tea, because I live in the south where that’s a thing because we’re civilized. #noHate #loveTheNorth
If I want to do something, why do I want to do it? How will it affect me? Am I ok with those results?
I try to look at things rationally, logically, which is why it can get dicey when I’m in an emotional state, especially if the emotions are anger, an outward expression of pain, or something like sadness, an internal expression of pain. I have found over the years that it’s better to give myself space and time to experience the emotions fully, to acknowledge them and accept them, similar to giving them a hug and saying, “I see and understand you.” I need to validate the emotions I feel are real and that they exist.
From there, after reassuring myself that it’s ok to feel whatever it is I’m feeling, I can step back and start to ask, “Why do I feel this way?”
Asking myself that question allows me to figure out the driving force behind the initial reaction. A lot of the time finding the root cause changes the course of action I actually want to be taking.
No, I really don’t want to curse that person out for being closed minded and hurtful to me. What I really want to do is come back logically and explain my side of the situation and how their actions made me feel.
So I guess if I had to pick something that keeps me in check, it would be logic.
Logic is my self-control device.