Human beings have this natural tendency to be selfish in their dealings with others. This is where self-restraint comes in check.
Self-restraint is the practice of holding instinctive desires, emotions, and impulses in check, and preventing oneself from giving full expression to them in conduct. It is a way of holding back from indulging in certain actions in order to achieve long-term goals.
As a virtue, it takes time and determination to develop Self-restraint , but once achieved, it will help you feel a sense of control over life and boost self-esteem.
For instance, you might want to lose weight, but if you don’t have control over your dietary behavior, you will likely not get the weight loss you desire.
Self-restraint is what keeps you from wanting to go to the fridge at 2 am in search of a bowl of ice cream or some bread, and is also that thing that keeps you from talking back when someone talks to you in an inappropriate way.
Self-restraint as a civic responsibility is the quality developed by a citizen in which he/she holds back certain opinions and impulses towards other people and the government.
As a citizen, there is a constant urge to question the affairs of government, make statements regarding the leaders and their ruling methods, or even take action in support of or against those in power or fellow citizens.
As much as there are rights that a citizen is entitled to exercise, however, it is imperative that a balance is sought between acting on these impulses and suppressing them when the need arises.
Generally, many things in the environment can also cause people to constantly contend with their willpower, thereby hindering their productivity in the process. These distractions can come in the form of social media, colleagues and family, food, and a host of others.
Therefore, practicing self-restraint is important, and it comes in two phases:
- Self-regulation Phase: This happens during goal planning. You may have been in a situation where you want to perform a task, but just thinking about it makes you want to quit even before you start. Other times, you struggle to work on something because your attention is diverted to other activities. These experiences require a level of discipline to be able to get started. Self-regulation involves setting up your time and environment ahead to help you meet up with the goal. When planning to undertake a project or activity, self-regulation is the best way to keep yourself focused throughout planning in order to prevent situations where your self-restraint is tested.
- Self-control Phase: This is important for goal execution. This is where you keep yourself focused to actually undertake the task and get it done completely. It occurs a little later after the self-regulation process and involves actively keeping distractions in check as you complete the task. For example, putting on noise-block headphones to prevent disturbance from colleagues or family members while working.
Here are three ways to show self-restraint as a citizen:
Get a Good Night Sleep:
Getting adequate rest and sleep at night helps you to wake up more energized to do work, and limit the chances of procrastination. In addition, it prevents one from indulging in certain actions, such as having the desire to get a late-night snack, or succumbing to a nagging temptation. It also increases productivity during the day.
Digital Self-control Support
This is a way of improving one’s self-control using digital devices. There are digital applications that are designed to help one improve self-control by placing reminders on tasks to be done. It also helps you keep track of your progress and motivates you to keep up with encouraging behaviours.
Understanding Your Emotional Intelligence:
To get better at self-restraint, you need a clear understanding of your emotions, how to manage them, and apply them in different conditions. For example, finding ways to control your anger or outbursts can help you think of better ways to solve problems without causing harm.
An increased level of emotional intelligence gives a person more power over thoughts and eventual actions and paves a way for better development.
Building a habit of self-restraint can be challenging, but it will definitely have a rewarding effect and prevent many unlikely situations from occurring in the future. We owe it to other citizens to have a reasonable level of self-restraint in order to live peacefully among ourselves and build a thriving society.