Rumi on Change

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Self Control is an Art


By Fariborz Arbasi

What is self control?Self Control
Self control is the ability to control one’s feelings, emotions, impulses, and reactions. The effect of self control is seen everywhere, such as, in wealthy people, those who win medals, those who have good habits, those who hold strong and proper relationships, the creation of a beautiful music, or a magnificent building, or in personal mastery of any fields. Emerson once said, “Nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm.” We could paraphrase that by saying,  nothing great was ever accomplished without self control.
A recent study, conducted by Avshalom and colleagues, at the Duke University, demonstrates the role of self control in people’s lives. In this study, the researchers followed the life of 1,000 children for thirty two years; they showed that individuals with lower self-control experienced more physical ill-health, substance dependence, difficulties with personal finance, and in even getting into crime. These results show, self-control to be a key factor which shapes the future of people. Also self control has the main role in addictive behaviour and its  recovery, in obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, and bipolar disorder. The good news is that you can learn self control skills like other arts.

How to Improve Your Self-Control

1. See the bigger picture
Why do you want to be a master in self-control?

Where are you going with self-control?

Focus on where you want to go. Rumi said:” don’t look at your beautiful and ugly face, look at your love and your goals. So, it’s not important where you are, but where you are going. When you focus on long term goals, to tolerate pain becomes easier, because attending to your goals increases your motivation.

2. Select self-control to have a priority value.
Values are our internal criteria given by us for what is good, favorable, beautiful, necessary, important, etc.
When you give to, tolerating pain an outstanding value in your mind, then the tolerating of the pain comes along with a reward in your brain. Therefore, to sacrifice short-term pleasures, not only becomes easy, but also becomes enjoyable.

3. Be patient with yourself.

Rome was not built in a day. The art of self-control takes a while to develop. The achievement of mastering self-control, like other arts requires weeks and months of hard work on yourself.
Make self-control skills as part of your daily routine. You can start from easy issues. Each event in daily activities can be a practice for self-control. Rumi said:” every moment two voices come together, hearing every sound is dependent on your readiness!
The first voice says: I’m present, another voice says: look with foresight the end of me!
The one with no foresight is rejected;  The one with foresight is happy


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