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Marriage and Family

Being All You Can Be

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06/01/2010 - From time to time, various topics arise for me which I feel are important to bring up. My last few articles have been on John Gottman's "four horsemen of the apocalypse of communication". This month, I am going to take a short break from the horsemen, and discuss one of these topics.

Road rage, violent reactions, addictions, impulsive behaviors, punching holes in walls, verbal aggression, affairs, child abuse and rash decisions. All of these are only a few very common symptoms of a problem many of us face. This problem is a lack of self control.

All people experience this at times but few people ever seem to really get a handle on this issue. The results are devastating. The person who loses control of himself may experience heavy consequences, but his loved ones will also suffer just as much, if not more. This article, in many ways, is a call for all people to recognize if they struggle with this problem then take steps to rectify their issue.

How do you know if you struggle with a lack of self control? If you experience any of the symptoms described above then you are likely a person who needs to make an effort in gaining self control. The above list is limited so a few other ways to identify this problem in yourself is by looking at the people around you. Do you have loved ones trying to tell you that you have a problem or need help? If you do, consider what they are trying to say, even if you disagree. Are you often in trouble with any authority? Are you experiencing any circumstances you always hoped you would avoid such as financial problems, addiction or marital problems? For you parents, do you ever find yourselves reacting in ways in which you would become angry with your kids if they acted the same way?

So what drives this lack of self control? Most situations can probably be tied back to a thought that says, "I deserve better that this!" In anger situations where road rage and violent reactions occur, the thought that "I deserve to be treated better than I have been treated" is present. Affairs are often in company with the idea that goes along the lines of "I deserve this moment", "I deserve someone who shows me this appreciation" or even "I deserve a better person than my spouse." I don't mean to oversimplify all problems that we as people face. The "I deserve" thoughts are not always the core issue of problems and correcting this thought will not be the solution of difficult circumstances.

For purposes of this brief article, try replacing the "I deserve" thought with the attitude that none of us have done anything to "deserve" fair and proper treatment. All of us have made poor decisions, huge mistakes and behaved in ways we regret. No person is absent of shortcomings, thus, no person is perfect. So what do we deserve? Not an easy life or complete respect. As a person of value, you do not need to put up with abusive behavior. Do use this as an attempt to rid yourself of any expectations of fair treatment, become more easy going when things do not work out and ultimately, gain control of yourself.

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