The Key to Self-Control

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  1. Jacqueline4390 profile image87
    Jacqueline4390posted 3 years ago
    Researchers are now saying that just being able to “Say No” to various temptations is not really the key to self-control. They are saying that it has more to do with the level of self-esteem.  According to Tracy Cheung, a researcher at Utrecht University in the Netherlands: “Turns out they are happier because they manage to live in a way that helps them skirt temptation, so they can focus on more positive things than telling themselves no all the time.” –The Secret of Self Control by Sarah Mahoney • November 26, 2014.

    Do you agree or disagree with this finding?

    1. Jacqueline4390 profile image87
      Jacqueline4390posted 3 years agoin reply to this

      I agree in part. Having a high level of self-esteem will definitely make you happier but I feel its only human nature to want things that seem appealing or that will help heighten the quality of living. Some problems with research is that it has a select population and can be skewed by many factors. So, just because I want to buy the latest tablet has no correlation to me having a low self-esteem.

      What about it?

      1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image98
        TIMETRAVELER2posted 3 years agoin reply to this

        Personally, I think most people are sheep.  They give into temptation because they believe the hype about things and since everybody else is buying it or doing it, they think they should, also.  You see this all the time.  We are bombarded with advertisements and media hype, and many people think they are "missing out" on something if they do not respond positively to them.  It's a very sad commentary on what we have become, and it is also scary.

        1. Jacqueline4390 profile image87
          Jacqueline4390posted 3 years agoin reply to this

          It certainly is scary to be a pack member. I've always been a bit of a rebel always asking why. Guess that is why I mostly do things based on what I perceive as "fact" and I use that term loosely. The survey included about 535 people. Guess it was a happy bunch!

    2. Millionaire Tips profile image91
      Millionaire Tipsposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      I think I would have to read the whole study to fully understand it, but to me, it doesn't really have to do with self esteem.  If I avoid watching television, then I don't see all of the ads for all sorts of food and alcoholic beverages.  When I don't see them, I am not as tempted with the ads and can manage to lose weight.  By avoiding the temptation, I avoid eating those foods, and don't mindlessly munch while I am watching tv.  I don't think it has anything to do with my self esteem.  I also limit the amount of junk food in the house to avoid temptation. If I want cake, I have to be willing to make the effort (and wait the time it takes) to make it from scratch.

      It is much easier to achieve your goals if you set up your life and systems so you aren't always having to show your willpower.

      1. Jacqueline4390 profile image87
        Jacqueline4390posted 3 years agoin reply to this

        My point exactly. I do the things I do which are in my best interest and does not infringe on the rights of others. There are a lot of things on television and advertisers use mind manipulation to persuade the audience to buy. If I don't need it I save even more money by NOT buying it!

    3. peachpurple profile image80
      peachpurpleposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      learn to say no when you feel uncomfortable or burden with the tasks that you don't want to do

      1. Jacqueline4390 profile image87
        Jacqueline4390posted 3 years agoin reply to this

        Right! You will find that one of the first words children learn is "NO." We are programmed into the affirmative.

    4. mikejhca profile image95
      mikejhcaposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      I agree that saying 'No' is not the key to self control. Positive thinking is. Focus on what you want instead of what you don't want. Instead of using willpower to avoid doing bad things use it to do things that are good for you. Often I see people trying to use willpower to force themselves to do things they don't want to do. I focus on positive things and say 'Yes'.

      There is a correlation between negative thinking and low self esteem. I practice positive thinking. So if I went on a diet my focus would be on filling up on healthy food and drinking water. I would try to become leaner and healthier. I would not be thinking about junk food and fat.

  2. Kathryn L Hill profile image78
    Kathryn L Hillposted 3 years ago

    I would say it has ultimately to do with positive will-power. If you do not want to do something for the sake of maintaining your sense of self-esteem and self-worth, then your will is activated in a positive way. This is the ideal. But sometimes won't-power for the sheer sake of saying No is also a useful form of self-mastery.

  3. Dr Billy Kidd profile image92
    Dr Billy Kiddposted 3 years ago

    If a person is constantly using will-power and guilt to say "No" to something, the person can easily do a flip-flop and become obsessed with the thing one has said "No" to. Freud discussed this a 100 years ago. It's part of the involuntary ego defenses. It seems like he called it a reaction formation.
    This is why crash diets do not work.
    This is why the priest who shouts the loudest that "sex outside of marriage" is a sin will be the one who has to work the hardest not to have an affair. And will indeed have one.
    Self-esteem is quite another matter. I cannot imagine what it has to do with self-control. A person will high self-esteem does largely what one wants whenever possible. And one can do good or do bad.
    For instance, if you earn over $75,000 a year, you probably have no more happy moments than a person make $75,000 a year. But your self-esteem rises, generally, with the more money you earn.
    Like I said, self-esteem is a complex issue.

  4. wilderness profile image97
    wildernessposted 3 years ago

    This question intrigues me, but from a different angle.  It seems that our culture is travelling down a road where our wants, our desires, are becoming ever more important to us.  With our basic needs met, our emotions take on ever more importance and those emotions become a larger and larger part of why we act the way we do rather than using our reason to make decisions with.

    We can see this in various ways.  We are continually encouraged to express our "feelings" - our emotions.  Not necessarily to control them, just to express them.  It seems that every other person is seeing a counselor or psychiatrist for help there - we're no longer capable of controlling those emotions and feelings ourselves.  Our prisons are overflowing with people that refused to control their wants - while reason tells us that smoking THC will send us to jail, we want it so smoke it anyway and then whine from behind bars.  Shoplifting is rampant - we want a little excitement so steal in spite of our reason telling us it is wrong.  Unwilling to accept we can't have the exact spouse we want (in spite of knowing better), marriage has become a failed institution today.  We want sex so badly that we not only demand someone else supply birth control for us, but that unwanted pregnancy and abortion is common and accepted.  Our government is failing because we want more than we can afford and encourage our politicians to take it from someone else although we know and understand it is wrong (we whine and cry when it is done to us).  We see increasing suicides, particularly in the young, as they cannot control their feelings any more and become overwhelmed. 

    The list is nearly endless.  We are becoming a culture of small children, living our lives and making our decisions from an emotional standpoint of want rather than a reasoned one.  We are losing the ability and willingness to control those emotions, perhaps because of excessive free time.  Somewhere between the small child demanding what they want when they want it and the robotic Mr. Spock (star trek) is the correct balance and we seem to have tipped the wrong way.  Were we more willing and able to control our wants, desires and emotions the question of self-control would not exist.  Single parent families would be rare and our jails empty.  There would be no war on drugs (no need) and abortions very rare.  Our economy would boom, taxes fall and suicide be nearly unheard of. 

    Emotional control is the answer, not self-esteem.  "Feeling" yourself to be King of the World won't produce self-control but rather the opposite.  Too much self-esteem results in acting more and more on wants rather than the opposite.


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