Self-control and sound judgement have to be the foundation of a useful life. The meaning of controlling ourselves is to do the best for us because it prepares us to do the best we can in our relationships with other people.
Both control and judgement are usually misunderstood in a derogatory fashion. Think of ‘sitting in judgement’ and ‘controlling’. Are you pleased if another applies the words to you? Of course not. They sound like an attack and that is what is meant. Most teachers most of the time have learned from those who taught them that their judgement is right. Who teaches us to develop good judgement? No-one. Who teaches us to think for ourselves? No-one. How then do we learn wisdom. The answer has to be that only those who continually question everything, not with the motive that we like causing trouble, as many people do, merely to try to disconcert others. And for what purpose?
Quite recently I was told that I always think I am right. I pointed out that I come to my ideas through constant research and I am always ready to change my mind if someone else gives me a good enough argument. There are very few people who can do this. Needless to say my friend merely repeated her first statement in the same tone which was certainly not anything but an attack with no ammunitions. I tried once more to put my message over. I never say that I believe in anything without having evidence. Surely anyone who is certain about something is either a bigot or someone like me who has researched all I can to find an answer. If this is not accepted, I follow my procedure to keep my mouth shut. It would be a waste of breath.
This is where self-control comes in. We must always remember that if people hold on to strong beliefs without ever questioning them, they must be terrified of changing them. Their security rests on what they have learned from other people’s. They have not yet learned enough about themselves , especially about their darker self. Don’t we all love revenge when we fear someone knows better than we do? This is the time when we need to exert our self-control to its limits. Retaliation is a losing card. If you use it you will bring yourself down to the not-to-be-desired lowest level. If anyone cannot take part in a useful discussion, where both sides agree to listen to each other’s point of view, you cannot have what I call “a proper conversation” which is one where both sides are seeking the truth and not trying to get the better of each other.
Which brings me to the next point that most of us want to have a long-term relationship. Not a superficial one as so many are, but a situation where both sides are independent in their ways of life and work. Neither tries to make the other do what they want to do. Recognise that everyone has the right to do in all the things that matter.
If we are too needy and feel that we cannot live on our own we are unlikely to make a working relationship. All the ads. I read of people seeking a close, lifelong relationship only talk about superficial appearances. Some of them are hilariously funny, but that doesn’t help them but it entertains me!
When I was a psychotherapist I came across many long-term couples who felt they needed help. In the first session I picked up all the negative ways in which they talked to each other. Neither of them listened. Both thought they were in the right, based on no evidence at all. In my next offering I shall give some examples.