I recently met someone who can eat one Maltester, seal up the packet and leave the rest untouched for months in the fridge. I couldn’t quite believe the level of self-restraint – I can barely manage to contain my scoffing to one packet of Maltesers. But is self-restraint only relevant if there is desire to do something that we decide we shouldn’t? After all, it’s easy to say “I’ve had enough” if you’re not really bothered either way.
This year I’ve stopped drinking alcohol to see if I can. This has been a massive challenge because, as many of my friends can testify, I was a Prosecco Queen! I find it easier to abstain completely rather than stop after one glass. But I still have to exercise some self-restraint. There are occasions when I have a craving for a glass of cold bubbly! I stopped eating meat over four years ago and found this easy, I don’t crave meat at all. For most of my life I’ve experienced times when I’ve felt out of control. From food, to coffee, to phoning unsuitable men, to jumping in the Thames (for a swim not to kill myself), buying baubles for my laden Christmas Tree and spending fortunes on clothes. If I buy a bar of Green & Blacks organic chocolate as a special treat, that treat goes quicker than a frost in summer. At times, I’ve been unable to stop the torrent of desire and have literally felt out of control emotionally.
So what makes one person prone to over-indulgence and feeling out of control and another person a model of self-constraint?
When we are aligned and listening to the rhythms of our physical and emotional bodies we are able to discern what we are really wanting. When we are blocked with self-doubt, limitations, negative emotions and old sabotaging programmes then we struggle to connect with the messages arising from our subconscious. Some of the most enlightened people on the Planet are acutely aware of the subtle messages and energies within their body. They can tell which foods have a strong vibration that will nourish their soul. They hold a level of self-respect and self-esteem that causes them to honour and cherish themselves. They are people who are in tune with themselves, with life and their emotions. They have no need to smother feelings, gain ‘love’ or feel comforted from over indulgence. They have no need to deny themselves that which gives them peace and pleasure because they feel good about themselves.
What if self-restraint is a fundamental denial that pleasure in any form has to be contained? What if pleasure is allowed to run wild? – It may cause havoc and devastation. When we are born we operate in a hypnogogic state, downloading programmes of behaviour that we often demonstrate in our adult life. We are born open, loving, curious and without ego. In the first seven years of life our environment starts to sculpt our character. If we felt fearful growing up or hurt and rejected then we build thick protective walls that allow us to escape deep inside of ourselves. These walls start to rule our life, urging caution in all things because bad things happen if you are not completely on your guard. Self-restraint becomes an automated behaviour born out of the need to survive. Over-indulgence becomes an automated behaviour born out of a need to feel loved.
The exacting control of the ‘Self-Restraint’ type can appear cold and ruthless. Almost as if they possess an alien quality that is beyond human. The emotional chaos of the ‘Over-indulger’ can appear weak, out of control and unreliable. In both instances the individual is operating from an old and outdated programme that they are usually unaware of. The cause of these programmes can never be truly addressed by will-power because the issue was created from a deep need to either a) feel safe or b) feel loved.
A powerful way to resolve these issues is to use an affirmation that gradually re-conditions your subconscious mind to feel more at peace with yourself and others. Affirmations are like ingesting superfoods for your soul. Inspired by the wonderful author, Louise L. Hay I’ve created some ‘mash-up’ affirmations for you to try:
The Self-Restraint type
• “I am safe to enjoy life.”
• “I trust myself and trust in the process of life.”
• “It’s safe to feel happy, I am safe to love.”
• “I feel safe in the rhythm and flow of ever-changing life.”
• “I am open to life, I am open to love.”
• “I love and accept myself.”
• “I am loveable, I am loved.”
• “I am exquisitely perfect just as I am.”
• “I am connected to universal love, the Universe loves me.”
• “What do I really want?”
I have decided to test the efficacy of these affirmations with a giant bag of yummy Maltesers. I will eat one and let you know how many I have left next week. Every time I get ‘that urge’ I’m going to say “I love and accept myself.” Just the thought of Maltesers has already got my taste buds tingling in delicious anticipation…….