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163 Self Control is Self-Love

by Claudine Sweeney
January 11th 2023

Do think of yourself as having good self control? Maybe you don't tend to overspend or overeat or react emotionally. These are all things you may be very good at resisting but how about doing the "... More

you're listening to the Rise up and Shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids. We have both shared very similar and very real struggles from chaos to coaches. We now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the Rise up and Shine podcast. Welcome back listeners today on episode 1 62. We are talking about self control now. I know you guys are all really excited about this topic. I know I know you can't just wait to hear about it, but listen, the reason we're doing this is recently I was reading my morning bible plan and there was an interesting quote. It said self control isn't always restraining ourselves from things we shouldn't do. It's actively doing the things that we should do.

And I thought what a different perspective because I have to admit when I hear self control, I think diet budget, you know, it's all the that's what I think of of self control, don't do this, don't do that. It's filled of restriction and I feel caged in And so I hear that word and I'm like, no thank you, I don't want to talk about self control. So, but I love that perspective that it's also we have the control to do things that we should do, like resting or self care. That's an aspect of self control and seeing as it is a fruit of the spirit. We thought what a great topic idea to talk about today and see if we can look at it with a different lens. Yeah, I like what you said um just about self control being the fruit of the spirit because I also think of self control like, oh no, it's kind of revealing my character, right? I don't know if I want to talk about this one and honestly when you first requested it, I thought self control, that sounds so negative, right?

So we're gonna see today if we can put a twist on it and make it a positive, not this, you know, drudgery grin and barrett, you know, deprive myself of all these things that bring me happiness. Yes, that's totally and I think if you and I both think of self control in that way, there are probably so many other women that also think self control is drudgery restriction, you know, for sure. But I like like again it it's a fruit of the spirit and when you think of the fruit of something, it's a result, it's a product of something else, right? So like a fruit on your tree, you know, you have a fruit tree. So the fruit is what's produced as you water it as it's growing and you know, whatever season spring summer um your fruits will start appearing. And so it's it's the result of the hard work, it's the product. And so I like that thinking of it in those terms is that it doesn't have to be this negative thing, it can be very empowering thing and because having self control, again, it's like I don't see myself as someone who has a lot of self control, not typically if I see it, but you know, if I'm at someone's house and there's vegetables or there's chips and salsa, I'm gonna go for the chips and salsa, you know, so to me that's not, that's what I think of, you know, like restrictions like, but I'm trying to be good and I'm trying to make healthy choices but really, again it all comes down to mindset and so self control.

I looked at that by googled it the definition and Wikipedia says it's the ability to regulate one's emotions, thoughts, actions and it's an executive function. And so an executive function is from the prefrontal cortex, right the front of our brain and which is the last to develop. So again, I find this kind of comical, you know, thinking about conversations I've had with my husband about our kids, well their brain is still developing so of course they're not going to have self control of course they're going to um scream for no good reason or of course they're going to interrupt, you know, we think of it almost like as this impulse control and so but really it's when one thing that's important to remember if we've talked about triggers before on the podcast, but when we are triggered, our prefrontal cortex shuts down. So then if this is an executive function and our prefrontal cortex which is the center of our executive functions, it shuts down, then it's gonna be really hard to have self control when we've been triggered, whether we're fight flight freeze, you know, any of those um mentalities and so but really thinking of self control as a product, I thought wow that takes a lot more work and intention to have self control and it's empowering and that's why we want to talk about it because we want our listeners to feel empowered and not feel so restricted.

And it's funny that you said you don't think of yourself as a person with high self control, I don't either, I think I've become that, but I do think that that self control is like a muscle, right? The more you exercise it on a consistent basis, the stronger it will get. And as our self control increases, the more we'll be able to direct our lives in a matter that align with our values which we talked about last week right? And so we talked about living a life, we talked about consistency and that self control really plays nicely into that, but it is like a muscle. So if you're thinking right now I have no self control and a lot of us think of it in terms of food, like when I think about for me, I'm like even my husband's like, his favorite saying is you have no discipline when it comes to food. Like, I'm like, well, I really do, because if I eat everything I wanted, I would be like three times my size. So I actually do. But in his eyes, he's like, you have no self discipline when it comes to food.

And I don't like to be restricted with my food. But then I constantly battle because I also don't want to buy clothes in another size. So there's this constant battle of like, well, and I want to keep my body in shape as healthy for as I age. But I also love to eat all the things I love to eat all the things, all the things, you know? So when I think of self control for me, it's always mostly it revolves around food, but it really isn't. Again, when I read that passage that paragraph and I thought, oh, but self control is also to do the things I should be doing, and it is like a muscle, right? And we just have to exercise it. And so we have have a good day. We have a good week and maybe the next day we don't have a good day, but it's a muscle. It's like, I don't go to the gym every day, but my muscles do improve and do increase if I'm consistent overall over time. Yeah, that's great claudine. Why don't we start sharing some of the practical for our listeners?

Yeah, that's a great idea. And and one I'd say number one is really recognize what you can control. And I think that's so important because, I mean, we're talking about self control, right? So we realize that we can only control ourselves. I think we all know at this point. And certainly if you've been listening to our podcast for any time, we know that we cannot control other people, right? We can't control their thoughts, right? We can't control other people's thoughts, but we can control our own. We can't control their behavior as much as we'd like to, um, I know as parents, we'd all love to control all of our Children's behaviors and as they mature and get older and especially when they're adults out on their own, we have no control. We get in touch with that really quick, but to really recognize what we can control. And that's an important thing. And the things we can control our thoughts and our words and our actions and our behaviors and our emotions. We have control over all of those things, which will absolutely change the course of our lives when we recognize that and practice it and grow that self control muscle.

Yeah, exactly. And one thing that I've done and that I've talked with my clients about is making a list, you know, on one side, drawing a line down the paper on one side things I can't control on the other side things I can't control. And typically on the things we can't control. It's going to be revolving around life circumstances or other people. Yeah, I cannot control my, my Children or my husband's mood darn. I wish everyone could be happy. I wish everyone can get along. Um, but I cannot control other people's decisions. And even like again, I talk about my kids a lot, but you know, I'm not going to be able to control all of my Children's decisions. They're not always gonna make decisions that align with what I think they should do. Just wait til they're adults and they're on their own. I'm practicing this now. I'm glad I did this when my kids were young because they have a perspective going into it. But typically all the things we can't control our about self right?

And again, it's that self control. Well, I can control my actions. I can control my words. I can control my reactions. I can control my decisions, my emotions, all those things, my thoughts. And so this kind of feeds into our next practical number two is start with your thoughts. Our thoughts are the driving force, Our thoughts create our emotions, our emotions created behaviors are behaviors, create our results if we are starting from the very beginning and we really want to see we really want to exercise and grow this self control muscle. Then it all begins with our thoughts, what perspective are you holding? What is your mindset about situations like again I can say hey I know I should be doing laundry right now but I'd much rather just be watching Tv. Well what's my thought about that? What is the meaning I'm giving to that situation? What are the thoughts going on in my head of why I want to watch Tv rather than do the laundry you know?

But at the same time if I choose not to do the laundry but keep watching tv how am I going to feel later? And so when we really start there and just understand the story going on in your head then you'll be able to see that oh maybe in the moment I don't want to do that but I know I'll feel better overall. I know even another one I'll use my husband as an example. I don't think he'll mind but he is very much a home body my son to, they're both pretty much homebodies. So it can be a challenge to try and get them to go out of the house to do something unless it's to the park or on a walk or a bike ride. But like maybe to go to someone's house for dinner. I don't really want to, although that they really do want to and they're glad when they do it, it could be a push to get out of the house and so really it's the thoughts right? It's like really comfortable here at home, I don't want to get dressed? I don't wanna, you know, I have to talk to people whatever it is, but that's that's a great example of self control to do things that are good for us, right?

It's good to be with other people. It's not good to isolate. We're long past the pandemic. So we do not need to isolate anymore. But when you're talking about thoughts, it reminded me of this dale Carnegie quote, it says everybody in the world is seeking happiness and there is one sure way to find it. That is by controlling your thoughts. So yes, it's thoughts is such a big one. And we talk about all the time and obviously as coaches, we do a lot of mindset management, right? Train your brain. We we help our clients really uncover their stories and thoughts that are holding them back that are keeping them from rising up and shining and living life to the full living their best lives. Yeah. And if we keep going through life thinking self control is a negative thing and it's depriving ourselves of all yummy things, then we're not going to make that change, you know? And so, but understanding what thoughts, what thoughts do I have around that term self control, even like we've talked about even with self care, right?

What are what is the meaning I give to self care? Well in the past when I didn't know better, it was selfish, you know about me and do things for me, but then as I grew and went through this healing journey I realized oh my goodness I need self care, not just for me but also for everyone else because I'm not self caring, I am snapping, I'm reacting, I'm not in control of my emotions and my my actions my behaviors so but then if we can tweak and think, you know, I'm gonna think that self control is the product and the result of doing some hard work or making intentional choices and I'd rather feel empowered. I think I'm gonna go with that option, that's a good point, you know and you were talking earlier about doing laundry and watching tv which you know, I share all the time is my battle. I would much rather sit on the couch and binge watch, you know netflix for a couple hours and do any kind of house work that's for sure. But it reminded me of the motivational triad, which you and I have done a whole episode on our brains are wired, they're wired to seek pleasure, conserve energy and avoid pain right?

So and if you want to listen to that, that was back on episode 96 way back when well not that way back, but a year ago, but that's our default thinking right and like you were saying self control is an executive function but the motivational triad. Our brain, that's its default primitive way and so we do have the power like I said to exercise self control and really come from our higher selves are more spiritual selves for sure. And then our final and third practical is motivation for self control. And this was this was a good thought for me as well and I love this, I saw this somewhere, it says self control is a fruit of spirit, not a tool for self torture. And I thought that was really good like self control. Again, we have so many negative connotations to it, but it's not a tool to torture ourselves, right? It is a tool for us to grow and like you said, it's a byproduct, right? It's it's a fruit of the spirit. So it's something that comes to our lives as we practice it and as we're filled with the spirit, we have this wonderful gift of self control that has the opportunity to grow right?

Certainly before I was a christian, I was like, I would never think of self control is something good to have, but we know it is something good to have, but what is our motivation for that? A lot of times it comes from a place of shame or guilt or self hatred as opposed to looking at it, this is an act of love that I do for myself, right? Again, looking at it that self control isn't just what we don't do, but what we do need to do, like self care and breast and our morning readings and our prayer times and all that good stuff. If it comes from a place of love, like I love my myself, I honor myself, I love my body, so I honor it with the food I eat and with the walks I take, even when I would rather sit on the couch and watch tv, you know, I love my family and I want them to have clean clothes, so I do their laundry because you know, I want them to be able to go to school and clean clothes or go to work and clean clothes, so that was really eye opening for me too, it's just what is my motivation if in my like whip cracking myself, you know, I I used to joke when I hold my son, I was like the whip cracker, I was always cracking the whip, come on, do three more pages do this and I got him out in like 2.5 years instead of three, but and I did it out of love but with ourselves, sometimes it comes from such a unloving place, I love that you said that that self control is an act of self love, that's such a pop positive way of looking at it, you know, again, like crack the whip right, all the things that I shouldn't be doing and it it does seem so negative, but if we think of it as an act of self love and it's something that will result from loving ourselves, having compassion on ourselves, caring for ourselves, honoring our body, honoring our family those things, then it's just going to be the result that comes from, from choosing to live like that, right?

Choosing what is my motivation. And we've talked a lot about with the motivation is your why understanding your, why things will not change or we will not be successful in any goal if we do not know our why. And so if this is an area that hey, I would like I would actually like to one think of it in a more positive way and to actually grow in self control then and start with that like well why why do I want to have more self control? What are my thoughts surrounding it? What meaning do I give to self control? Is it an act of love or is it coming from a place of shame, which that's where it was coming more so for me. And so it was easy to not have self control because I was always shaming myself, I shouldn't be doing that. I should, I shouldn't do that. And I think of it as like it could be even in health wise, right depriving myself of things that I want to do instead. I would rather have that cake than the yummy vegetables.

But thinking of it as like hey, but I am trying to love my body, I want to love myself, how can I honor that, you know, and and even knowing that I will feel so much better in the moment. It's hard in the moment it is hard to choose that self control, but when we do, we don't feel shame, we feel empowered and we feel confident and so that's definitely the way I want to go, right and so understanding your, why is going to help with the motivation aspect because the motivation comes and goes, but if we're gonna hold on to that, why we'll be able to hold on to the motivation well and something you said reminded me to understanding how our brains work when we really understand. I mean the reason like I have enough awareness, enough knowledge obviously from my coaching practice and all the trainings, I understand a lot of times like when I want to just go watch tv is because I want a quick dopamine hit or if I want to go my little online game, I'm like okay or that cheesecake or that sugary, you know, flowery thing, it's because I know I'm gonna get a quick dopamine.

So now I ask myself like what's going on because now I'm like, okay my body is craving a dopamine hit. So what am I feeling and usually it's like okay, it's stress or I'm feeling anxious about something, there's something on my mind and that's where self control comes in so handy because a lot of times it's things that are on my list to do that I just don't want to do. But once I do them then I get that dopamine hit the proper way, right? And it's a reward system but I've trained myself enough to know like okay if I'm going for the tv remote or something sugary or something sweet. I asked myself, okay what am I? I stopped and I asked myself, what are you feeling? What are you thinking? What's really going on? And that 10 20 seconds has been so amazing for growth because then you you can get in touch with, oh I'm feeling restless or anxious or stressed and then go deeper like what's causing it. Is there something undone and then I don't just just go do the easy thing to get the award which is short lived, right?

Yeah, I understand that that's not really practical but a great insight to hold on to, you know that's so true because self control is really wrapped up in that you know, again we talked about our thoughts and when we're triggered, are we stressed out, are we tired? Something bothering us? Did something happen at work? Someone say something to me, you know that discouraged me my schedule to pack whatever it may be, but just understanding how am I feeling right now, what am I thinking, what's going on, why am I going for all these things and and that's like you said, that's where lasting change comes and also more fulfillment. You know when we don't choose the easy thing in the moment and we hold off or you know, we get the rest that we might need even though we don't want to, sometimes that is lasting. It's that's those are the choices that doing what you need, you need to do or what your body needs is what's going to like as you practice it, it's going to be what drives you more and more and more as you get better at it.

So, so good. Yeah. Alright, well claudia this was actually positive episode. I'm glad we did it. Me too. I'm never going to think of self control in the same way again. Self control, Act of self love there, another bumper sticker, Another bumper sticker. I love it. All right, Well for our listeners, hopefully this really helps you and encourages you especially as we are getting well into january and we are looking forward to the new Year and even having some more time to self reflect? We encourage you to self reflect on self control and what are your thoughts about self control? How do you feel about it? Do you see it as a fruit of the sea Spirit? Do you see it as depriving yourself of good things, you know, but really understanding where your thoughts lie around self control and again, if this episode encourages you inspires you, please share with a friend as well. We've been getting some really good feedback and encouraging feedback and even some topics to hear for the future, which is wonderful.

And so that wraps us up today and we wish you a wonderful week and we'll catch you next time. Take care. Alright, everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation today here on the rise up and Shine podcast. If you haven't already, please take a second to hit that subscribe button. So you never miss an episode and while you're at it share this episode with a friend who, you know it can bless today. If you want to visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at Claudine Sweeney dot com and Ashley at mind over chaos dot com. Our links are in the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember, ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life

163 Self Control is Self-Love
163 Self Control is Self-Love
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