Monday, May 2, 2011

Self-control and pressure

"The way you see people is the way you treat them and the way you treat them is what they become." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.  I agree that this is very often the case.  However, I would add to the quote by Goethe: "...unless they know how to stay centered and lovingly detached by applying constructive, conscious self-control."

People have enormous influence over one another, on conscious and unconscious levels.  It says this about self-control in Wikipedia:

"Self-control is directly related to the pressure an individual may face.
  • Good Pressure: When an individual is in a competitive, yet non-judgemental and non-prejudicial environment, the individual may want to be like those around them. An individual may become motivated and inspired and gain self-control.
  • Bad Pressure: When an individual is in a judgemental and prejudicial environment and there is no competition, an individual may become depressed and unmotivated, losing self-control.
  • No Pressure: When an individual is free and there is no competition, and can do what one may feel, self-control is based on how an individual may feel. Since there are no other individuals to compare, an individual may be less motivated or more motivated depending on the urgency of whatever they are doing."

I would argue with the "no pressure" quote above.  True self-control is NOT based on how an individual feels; it is based on how the individual thinks.  I believe that true self-control happens in spite of how a person feels.  

Self-control may indeed be related to the pressure facing us, but it is entirely independent of that pressure.  Otherwise, we are speaking of something other than self-control.   Real self-control may very well increase in response to so-called "bad pressure."

Our feelings may fall into the category of "pressure" facing us.  What Alexander would call a "stimulus".   Let us learn to respond to them with constructive, conscious self-control.

Most importantly, let us realize that it takes enormous courage to develop the level of self-control needed to constantly, over and over, let go of our old ways...of trying to control.

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