We are never satisfied. I guess it’s just part of human nature. Whether animal or human, our desires drive us towards fulfillment, and were it not for the power of the mind, we would show no restraint. Such a world filled with unbridled desire would quickly destroy itself, so once again, the mind must help us to master our own selves.
There are too many desires to count, but we all know the big and infamous ones: hunger, power, lust, and pride. But there are others that are not so overtly “evil,” such as affirmation, acceptance, the sense of being needed, or having a purpose in life. We recognize these desires as valid ones, but like power and lust, even these benign desires can become destructive when there is no restraint.
For example, I tend to be a “people person.” I like being around others, and the thought of being isolated for too long disturbs me. That has made me an excellent candidate for the fear of rejection. Guess what? I’ve battled it most of my life.
Nothing upsets me more than the thought that someone is put out with me. I hate knowing that I may have disappointed someone, and if I don’t restrain this feeling with some perspective, I can end up building a fortress around myself.
The Power of the Big Picture
Perspective means seeing “the big picture,” and in my case, the big picture is that even though I may have done the wrong thing at times, it doesn’t make me a bad person, or that I need to declare war on the world in order to shield myself.
Without perspective, that sense of rejection could become destructive, because I could end up lashing out at others in order to protect myself from further rejection.
Perspective is a great key to self-restraint, self-control, and self-discipline. It’s having the big picture about what a high-calorie diet will do to your body over time that helps you to restrain your hunger for another sloppy burger this week. It’s having the big picture about what having an affair will do to your family that will aid you in restraining what amounts to momentary lust. It’s having the big picture about how your fits of anger can destroy the souls of your children—and tarnish their future—that will help you get control of yourself in the moment.
Learn to Envision the Future
You need perspective, or your immediate decisions will suffer. Think things through as best you can. Consider what your habits of behavior might be doing to your own emotional, physical, or mental state. Try to grasp what your self-indulgent behavior is doing to those around you.
Then, try to envision what the opposite behavior would bring. Think of what self-restraint in your eating habits would do to your body over time. Think of what operating in kindness and patience instead of anger would do for those who live with you. Try to consider the opposite of what you’re presently doing that’s destructive and the mental picture should be a great one.
Use these mental images as the means to checking your thought processes and your actions. Learn to dwell on the big picture and the small stuff won’t bring you down so easily.