Controlling yourself is attractive.
Controlling others is repulsive.
Helping others control themselves is magical.
How often have you seen someone become obnoxious at a party, so drunk that they’re stumbling, shouting, and making offensive jokes they would never tell if they were sober. Or people stampeding to board a bus with no concern for the young or elderly, elbowing others to reach the best seat? Have you been in a situation at the grocery store or post office, watching people who can’t tolerate waiting in line, who start to grumble and complain? Have you ever, yourself, got into an angry outburst at a restaurant when food was late or not what you’ve expected?
What all these situations have in common is a lack of self-control. We all can resolve any problem in a constructive way if we slow down, stay calm, and treat others with respect. So if your entrée arrives late or overcooked, you can speak to the server and reach a solution. It’s possible to be both assertive and kind. You can apply the same attitude in practicing The Happy Body. Kindness towards yourself will guide you to take assertive steps to exercise. You can acknowledge that you may not want to do it, but that it only takes 30 minutes and that you will feel better when you’re done. Self-control doesn’t have to be mean or draconian, it can be respectful.
The opposite of self-control looks like throwing a tantrum: yelling, using inappropriate language, striking out at others, whining, complaining, being impulsive and repulsive. It’s as if an adult has regressed back to the state of a child.
So what is self-control? It means training yourself like you train your dog, with a vision of what that dog will be like in the future—free of the leash, eager and responsive to your whistle, walking by your side like a friend, because he wants to. Self-control is a core quality of responsible, self-reliant adulthood. It’s also conscious and aware; it makes decisions from a place of healthy ethics and principles.
Self-control means having the freedom to say “no” to those things that make us worse. For instance, you can visit any buffet restaurant and see the tragedy of people out of control, eating more than is good for them and more than they ultimately want. Self-control means I can choose a nice piece of steak, delicious veggies and soup, and have an enjoyable dinner from the same buffet. Or, self-control means that I don’t even go, because I know that I will lose myself in the face of all the variety and feel bad afterwards.
The Happy Body Program is consciously structured to empower people to acquire self-control in various ways. You exercise every day, finishing with the stress-release relaxation routine; and you follow the food plan by eating every three hours with two meals and two snacks, controlling the volume, with selected choices to prevent overwhelm. And if you fail, you take ownership—a crucial component of self-control—and journal or write poetry to grapple with your emotions.
Where do you lose self-control? Do you have any personal techniques you use to maintain it in the face of a challenge? Have you seen how The Happy Body strengthened your self-control over the past year? How did it manifest?
Leave your response below in the comments.