I find it hard to write about things that I think everybody understands. I always try to come at things from a new perspective and look at them in a way that I find encouraging. Typically, I will weigh my own experience with a topic and think about what it means to me, for example, to have self control. I was struggling to find a way to make this post about self control encouraging until I looked back at the definition. Doing this isn't always fruitful, but every once in a while there is a word or phrase in the definition of a word that makes that word take on new life in my own mind.
When I looked back at what it meant to have self control, or be self-controlled the phrase "self mastery" was included. The word mastery changed my entire thought process about self control. The word mastery connects with me in an encouraging way, much more than the word control does. While they are both a part of the definition in this case I think of them very differently.
Control has a lot of negative connotations for me, like if everything is not under my control then something must be wrong, and probably with me as a person. So I thought that self control was something I either had or didn't have, and when I didn't have control the way I should, I "knew" I was deficient.
Mastery on the other hand, is a word that I get excited about. To me it means you understand the tenacity and grit it takes to work through hard situations to become successful. Knowing that when you come up short, it simply means there's room to grow, and that there's work I can do to make the fruit of self control hang on a branch I can reach (or at least start climbing toward).
In this post I want to lay out the train of thought I had when I started to think about self control as self mastery instead. Hopefully it will show you that if you change your thinking in this way, it can have a big impact on how you live life.
Here it goes.
Self control is actually about mastery of your self.
Mastery comes by practice/doing.
What you practice/do comes from the heart, where you believe and know about your self.
What you believe and know becomes your reality.
Its easy to convince ourselves that our reality is truth.
When we are convinced that what we believe and know about our self is true, we can begin to believe all the things we tell our self are true, even if they aren't.
So it's even possible to start believing lies we tell our self, and when we do this it develops patterns in how we behave.
This makes the narrative from our self to our self the most crucial aspect of our patterns for behavior (what we practice/do).
When we speak a specific narrative to our self for long enough, it becomes the way we develop mastery of our self.
When we speak the wrong(untrue) things to our self, the result is brokenness.
Things like shame, self-hate, and abuses begin to control us, and with no effort at all we behave from a broken place feeling like we have little-to-no self control.
The path to wholeness and solid relationships begins with what we tell our self.
Mastering the narrative to our self, aligning our reality with the truth about our self, and believing you can move past broken places and even put those pieces back together is what self control is about.
You're free to believe whatever message you tell your self, but there is true freedom in knowing and telling your self the truth about yourself.
Walking in the truth of who you are makes it simpler to say no to the wrong things and yes to the right things, which establishes positive patterns of behavior that help you master your self.
I love helping people find out the truth about themselves. I encourage you to change the way you talk to your self. It will change your reality, and your life.