Learning Self-Control

Self-control means doing what we ought to do at all time, and not doing what we ought not to do, without waiting for orders from anyone. Self-control is not very common. Many people do the right thing only because they are afraid of being punished if they don’t. At times they do what is wrong because no one is there to see them do it.

People with self-control do not depend only on the opinions of other people. They guide their own actions. They decide for themselves what is good and bad, and what they will do and will not do.

People with no self-control often make mistakes. Such people are like little children. They always need others to guide them. They need others to decide for them what to do and what not to do. Depending too much on others can be dangerous. Wrong guidance can make them do what is wrong. They then get punished, even though they blame others for the wrong they have done.

As we grow up it is important to learn from our parents, teachers and religious leaders what is good and bad. When we are adults we cannot depend on others to tell us always what to do and what to avoid. No one may force us to act one way or another. We have to make choices on our own. We will even have to make choices for other people who depend on us. We must know for ourselves what is right and we must have the courage to do what is right.

When we are not sure whether something is good or bad, it is enough to ask a friend of ours for his opinion. Most of our friends are only as old as old as we are and they do not know much more than we do. Our parents and teachers are the people we ought to talk to on such matters. They will give us the correct guidance. We must also develop our will power so that we can have enough self-control to act according to the right knowledge we have acquired. Little acts of self-control when we are young prepare us for great acts of self-control when we need them in our later life.

Some acts of self-control right now might be: not to copy from our books or our companions during tests and examinations even though the teacher does not notice us; not to use angry or harmful words when a colleague harms us in some way; not to take the belongings of others even if no one sees us do it. You can think of many other occasions like these when you can use your self-control. Do the right things in such matters right now and you will be strong enough to do the right thing in much more important matters when you are older.

If I can make myself always do what is right, I have become the master of myself, and I never need to be afraid of any punishment.

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