Before looking at self-control, we need to distinguish between it and self-discipline so that we don’t confuse the two when we are discussing them with regard to personal development.
Self-discipline is control over your conscious decisions to do or not to do, speak or not to speak, what you are thinking, and what you are imagining at any time. Self-discipline refers to the mind as it gives commands to the body.
Self-control refers to the emotions and the actions and reactions which we have learned during this and past lives which automatically occur when the appropriate stimulus is provided.
Where self-discipline has to do with conscious decisions about behavior, self-control deals mainly with the emotions and the things which we do automatically to protect our bodies and our egos whenever they come under some form of attack.
Self-control is not about not feeling emotions, desires, and fears, or not being involved whole-heartedly in everything happening around you. It is about being in control of yourself no matter what emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations you are going through.
It is learning to be unaffected by them in such a way that you can maintain balance, composure, and the ability to think clearly during any dangerous or emotionally charged experience.
Self-control is also having control over your reactions and interactions even though you may have no control over the situation itself.
Self-control Is Not Control. A serious problem for many people is that they believe they must be in control of situations in which they are involved. This is a bad mistake. It causes a lot of anger, frustration, disappointment, and resentment. It could be the chief cause of stress in those who suffer from it.
Self-control doesn’t mean that you have to control everything that happens in your life. This isn’t what it’s about at all. Self-control is about having all your emotions, thoughts, and reactions to what is going on around you under control. It is not about controlling the situation or the other people involved in it.
We have a tendency to decide how each situation we are in should unfold. We have an agenda. We have an expectation of how things will turn out.
The difference between the stressful person and the relaxed person is the amount of control he wants over any situation and the degree of flexibility he has regarding both the execution and the outcome.
As a situation develops, it either moves towards an individual’s desirable outcome, or away from it. If he likes to be in control, and the situation is not to his liking, he will become more and more stressed. Negative emotions will start to build up.
On the other hand, the relaxed individual knows that any situation may produce a number of different results. He may decide what is the best outcome for him personally, but he is willing to accept any outcome, and work with it. By not wanting one specific outcome, he doesn’t become upset when things progress away from the preferred result.
Although he may do what he can to produce the best result possible from his point of view, he remains open to other possibilities. In the end, he is still relaxed.
The individual who wants to be in control can only relax if his preferred result is obtained. Otherwise, he is uptight during the whole proceedings and stressed out when the result is bad.
People who suffer from stress are most probably control freaks. Things must go how they expect them to go or they worry and get upset.
To avoid stress and all the mental, emotional, and health problems associated with it, these people must learn that things are going to turn out a certain way whether they desire it or not.
Becoming upset and angry will not change the result. They must learn to accept whatever happens, forget what they wanted to happen, and go with what they have. Make the best of what the reality is now.
The sooner a person learns that he doesn’t have to put his two cents worth in every time something goes wrong, the sooner he will learn that he doesn’t have to be in control.
Emotions. If we want self-control, we must look at two areas of human behaviour: emotions and automatic reactions to stimuli. Emotions destroy self-control because they take over the consciousness, keeping the attention on the emotion. When we are under the control of an emotion, logical thinking and objective decision-making become very difficult.
The greatest destructive emotion is anger. It causes strife in every level of human activity. It is one of the major reasons for wars, feuds, murders, and violence. It destroys nations, relationships, and health.
I will concentrate on anger in this newsletter because discussing all the emotions would fill a whole book. As it is, a newsletter cannot possibly cover the whole subject of self-control, only the main points.
There is a huge lie being told to all people around the globe. This lie has been accepted as truth by almost everyone in the religious, psychiatric, psychology, medical, education, and government fields. The lie is: expressing emotions is natural and necessary for normal human development.
This is not true. Experiencing emotions may be normal, natural, and necessary. Expressing them may be considered normal and natural, but it is not necessary.
We have emotions. This is a fact. Where they come from is a mystery to science, psychiatry, and medicine. But the source of emotions has been known to the spiritual community since the beginning of time.
The Source of Emotions. Emotion is produced in a person’s Astral body and when it flows into the physical body, it is expressed through speech, action, feeling, and changes in the body’s sensations and reactions.
Until mainstream science, psychiatry, and medicine accept the truth about emotions, they will continue to scour the brain for them, and never understand how they originate.
When we accept that emotions originate from the Astral body, we have a much better chance of controlling them, and therefore, achieving self-control.
Anger. To understand anger better, you need to look it up in a thesaurus, and then look up each entry underneath this heading. This gives you an idea of the range of feelings associated with anger and the huge amount of time people spend being angry.
Although some people learn how to turn anger on and off, or to pretend to be angry while not actually being angry, most people have no control over their anger. When they get angry, it takes over and runs their life until its energy runs out and they gain control of themselves again.
Some people in the lower levels of consciousness lose control completely and “lose their temper”. Most use bad language, threats, and offer stinging opinions about the character of the individual their anger is directed at. A few resort to violence.
These actions are semi-automatic. Little or no thought is put into what is said or done. The anger may pervade the whole consciousness of the person so there is no room for thought or any other inner activity.
Many people use anger as a weapon to hurt and gain control over someone else. These people usually lack assertiveness in their relations with others. Their self-esteem is low and they lack the communication skills and strength of character to make their presence felt in the company of others.
When they find that their opinion or desires aren’t being heeded, they become angry and use this anger to make others listen to them. This makes them unpopular so their outbursts are still not given favorable consideration anyway.