Self control: dealing with temptations

word of month character

Lets look at how we can use our self control when we are tempted by something that may be appealing to us.  From the simple point of view if we look at something in the store or at something that belongs to someone else, while we may want it or something like it we would not steal it.  We know that taking something that does not belong to us, no matter how much we want it would be the wrong thing to do and would have very bad consequences.  We know that when that trust has been broken between individuals it is very hard to get back and using our self control is how we can maintain a high level of trust with our parents, friends, teachers, and employees / employers.

But this is not the only kind of temptations around us.  We may be tempted to not tell the truth, especially if we are scared or think we are about to get into trouble.  It takes a great deal of character and self control to stop ourselves from stealing or lying to others.  But there are temptations all around us.  For each one of us they are going to be different.  For some temptations may come in the form of food, intimacy, drugs, alcohol, gambling. For some we find ourselves lying to ourselves, the greatest form of deception, about whatever it is that is tempting to us.   So how do we guard ourselves from these sorts of things?

By taking the STEP.  STOP and take a deep breath or two.  Count to ten get away from the situation for a minute to give yourself time to THINK up some solutions.  Write them down, think about each way you could deal with the situation.  The EVALUATE all the possible solutions with 3 questions; Will this solution work, Is it safe and Is it fair?  When all 3 of those questions can be answered in a positive way then we can choose from the solution options that meet that criteria for what is best for us and immediately PROCEED with the plan.

Now while this is harder to do than it is to say, the way we get ourselves strong enough to use our self control at our command is to practice it on little things.  For instance I know that I need to do physical activity every day.  So have I set a time to do that?  When that time comes do I make excuses to refrain or do I make a personal victory by carrying out my plan?  When you have the little victories on a daily basis, when there is a bigger temptation we will have grown that muscle strong enough to demonstrate our self control. 

As a parent we can set the example and show our children when we are using our self control, and point out what and why we are doing it.  We can encourage them to do the same and celebrate with them when they display self control.  Talking and using the words on a consistent basis will be a great reminder for both parent and child.