Importance of Self Control

The absence of self-control in individuals can have lifelong and life-threatening consequences. Man has emerged from an animal into a ‘thinking soul’, and thus needs to impart some levels of restraint in his interactions with other human beings. If self-control is not utilized, there remains no difference between man and beast. When a lion goes in for a kill, he is either successful or unsuccessful. There is no consideration for the prey nor is there any remorse thereafter.

Man has to live within a societal framework whereby he must co-exist with others of his kind. Therefore, it becomes imperative that man exerts some amount of restraint in his behaviour and dealings with his compatriots. To live in a congenial environment, it becomes necessary to regulate one’s actions toward others. However, when man lives cohabits, there is bound to be some friction because of differing personalities and desires of life. There are times when harmful acts are done to self and others, and in these instances, man becomes beast. The art of self-control should be brought in to resist negative temptations that have harmful consequences.

Every individual needs to discipline himself in order to live a more structured and happier life. If everyone gave in to his or her indulgences and desires, there would be no control on any aspect of life, which would led to complete mayhem within society.

Self-control is an important aspect of self-development. As a baby grows older, he/she becomes cleverer in the fact that more is learnt, but may not be wiser as the difference between right and wrong is still unknown. However, from the age of toddlerhood to old age, a person will learn what is right and what is wrong through self-control on the ‘wrongs’. Self-development happens with age as well as maturity. The more mature a person is, the more self-control and discipline will be demonstrated. To look at it the other way around, practising discipline and keeping emotions (and actions) in check also lead to maturity in an individual.

Self-control is a necessary habit in all walks of life – in personal relationships, at school, with peers, etc. To be in control of one’s emotions and actions is considered the best trait possible in any individual. There are various mythical stories about Indian sages having tremendous self-control while meditating against disrupting ogres, or kings who restrained themselves from punitive action against criminals, or the child who did not hit the nasty boy in school.

Self-control helps in increasing patience within one-self. By using self-control, certain actions are restrained, thereby increasing the staying power (or tolerance) of a person. The period of self-control is a duration within which a person gets a grasp on his/her own feelings and tries to bring about a change in the feelings, from negative to positive.

Exercising self-control increases the esteem of a person as he/she is viewed by others as someone who is well disciplined and in control of his/her emotions and actions. It is easier to be controlled (and directed) by others than to exert self-control, as the latter requires tremendous grit and determination.

A lack of self-control is akin to being spineless. This laxity results in aggressive behaviour, criminal tendencies, self-neglect (through over-indulgence) and can be detrimental to the individual and society. However, the other extreme of complete self-control on every aspect of life can have other repercussions like reclusive tendencies and a complete drain out of emotions. Hence, it is imperative to strike a balance and use self-control when necessary.