Self control, also known as self mastery, is a term that is thrown around so often it’s all too easy to assume that we understand what it means. Often believed to be a term that is interchangeable with holding back (for example, when you are on a diet yet crave cupcakes), self control has been dampened down to the point where it has lost some of its meaning. To best understand what self control/self mastery is, we must return to the basics.
Here is how the Merriam Webster dictionary defines self mastery:
A person's essential being that distinguishes them from others.
- Acquire complete knowledge of or skill in (an accomplishment, technique, or art).
- Gain control of; overcome.
Realization Rather Than Restraint
According to this definition, it is clear that self mastery is not merely restraint. It is a journey one goes on to become their optimal self — to improve their identity, both in perception and experience. While this very well could have beginnings in restraint (great sacrifice does tend to yield great reward), this journey will mostly be one of self-discovery.
Using this most basic definition of the term, self control (or mastery) can be explained as using knowledge of oneself to control oneself. However, it’s not as easy as it may sound. While the techniques put in place will improve your life and turn you into the best version of yourself that you can be, it will require commitment and passion.
Don’t be alarmed.
Your dedication will not be difficult. You won’t have to exert much energy, time, or money in getting to know yourself better — all that is truly required are your thoughts and your words.
Most of our shortcomings, failures, misfortunes, and negative experiences are entirely self-inflicted. This might sound like an accusation, or victim-shaming, but it is the truth. The Law of Attraction governs us whether we like it or not. So to master oneself, we must attract good things into our life. You may have to change your entire mindset, but it will be worth it in the end!
How The Law Of Attraction Fits In
The Law of Attraction proposes that what we focus on in thought, we attract into our lives. Thus, if you focus on negative ideas, your existence will draw in negativity. On the other hand, if you concentrate on good, positive thoughts, you will experience good and positive things in abundance.
This Law of Attraction concept comes in handy with self control because it is a practice that will never cease. The more positive you are about yourself, the more reasons you will find to add positivity into your life and the world.
Your thoughts are powerful things.
If you change your perception of yourself with bright, positive emotions, you will easily transform into a bright, positive person, and your endeavor in self-control will become so much easier.
You know you would like to improve yourself — half the work is already done.
The 7 Steps To Self Control
1. Get to know yourself.
The very first thing you will have to do to become your optimal self? Dig deep and find the answer as to why you want to change.
Using the example of the cupcakes again, you could ask yourself why you are dieting. Perhaps your answer is that you would like to be healthier, but why? Is it because you want to live your best life? Now, why is that? When you can no longer dig any deeper, you will have hit the source of your inspiration to change and the motivation to improve yourself will flow easily.
If your emotions/stress levels have flared up a bit, and you would like to soothe them, this is a wonderful stress-relieving meditation by a true meditation genius, Morry Zelcovitch (P.S. you must listen with headphones).
Keep in mind, though, getting to know yourself better can be a very intense experience.
2. Reconcile your past.
The law of attraction has come to play again. If you carry past pains with you everywhere you go, you will never know true peace. However, if you forgive your past, you will feel a weight lift from your shoulders and will make room in your spirit for more positive emotions.
Forgiveness does not have to be a gift from one person to another. While it is highly recommended that you do forgive those who have wronged you, it is also extremely important to forgive yourself for past mistakes you have made.
Insecurity, guilt, anger, and shame are powerful thoughts/emotions. If they manifest into your life, you will suffer. To improve yourself, let go of the past and focus on the present and your wonderful future instead.
3. Be mindful.
Mindfulness is probably the fastest way to see ourselves through the eyes of others.
In practicing it, you learn to observe the finer details in life, to take in as much as possible so that you can truly experience things as they happen, and therefore gain a greater appreciation for them.
Being mindful can help you in matters of self-control because you will see with true clarity how much effect you have on those around you.
Try it! Say something nice to someone and make an effort to pay attention to how their eyes light up and how their smile shines. Maybe they will laugh, or blush, or brush their hair back in shyness.
It is so easy to have an impact on the world. Once you realize that you have the power to better the lives of others, you will want to start with yourself.
There is a wonderful saying: you can’t pour from an empty cup.
Be mindful of how you affect yourself with your choices, and you will be inspired to control them.
4. Be grateful.
It cannot be said enough: gratitude might be as powerful as love in this world.
Gratitude has an array of health benefits, including the fact that it can change the structure of your brain by flooding your mind with good hormones. When we extend acts of kindness and gratitude to others, we inspire them to do the same.
One of the most important parts of self mastery is changing for the better — not just for our own sake, but for the benefit of others, too. Combine practicing gratitude with mindfulness (as listed above). You will actively see the change in those around you, and this will lift your spirit.
5. Talk to yourself.
This is the simplest trick in the book, and one of the most effective.
The Law of Attraction doesn’t only apply to your innermost emotions; it applies to your words, too. One quick, easy ritual that you can start right now? Say something nice to yourself at least once a day.
Compliment whatever you like best about yourself, or give yourself a pep talk if need be. You don’t have to believe the nice things you say right away; the purpose of this is to attract the truth of it into your life. Say it often enough — with feeling, of course — and it will come to pass.
Your words have power, so use them well.
As mentioned, this will be a journey that never ends. One way to stay motivated is to document your experiences. This could also be an opportunity for a new hobby (which is also a great way to improve yourself an have fun).
Perhaps you would like to keep a gratitude journal that you write in every night. Photography is also a great way to make visual comparisons for greater motivation and is the perfect way to stay motivated (if your self control involves your appearance). Scrapbooking, also, is a therapeutic way to collect and store memories of your favorite moments. Of course, you can also keep it simple and use a good, ol’ diary.
There is no wrong way to commit to gaining self-control, but these practices will teach discipline, while serving as reminders of what you have achieved and give tastes of what is still to come.
7. Look after yourself.
No matter how in tune you are with your emotions, and no matter how many good things you call into your life with the law of attraction, you will never reach your full potential if you are unhealthy. These may sound fairly obvious, but far too often we neglect our bodies in search of better souls.
Sleep well and enough. Drink water. Eat natural, healthy foods. Exercise. Make an effort to do things you enjoy, no matter how silly or unnecessary they are.
Meditate, or at the very least, just relax.
Make these things routine in your life. There is no easier way to teach yourself control than to start with the most important things that will render noticeable differences in both your body and spirit, almost instantly.
You’d be surprised how wonderful a glass of water and a good night’s sleep can be.
We’d love to know which of these steps you are most excited to try, and which you think will be the most difficult to implement. Let us know in the comments below!