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Self Control for Emotional Wisdom


I am, indeed, a king, because I know how to rule myself.—Pietro Aretino

Self-control requires that we master our emotions. This mastery enables us to channel both positive and negative emotions in a productive way and enables us to learn and gain from our emotions rather than be burdened by them.

With self-control, we can both anticipate and use our emotional reactions to maximize our effectiveness. Angry outbursts are most often associated with a person who lacks self control, but emotional self-control is much broader than controlling our anger.

- Self-control also means finding productive ways to address self-doubt and other feelings, such as fear, that can be destructive to achieving our life’s goals and objectives.

- Self-control requires us to know how to express emotions appropriately —both positive emotions and negative emotions.

-Self-control takes our self-awareness to the next step. Self-awareness allows us to understand our limitations; self-control allows us to address them.

-Self-control is about selecting the words, appropriate time, and demeanor that will give you the results you seek.

-It is the means to a planned and thoughtful emotional climate. If you want to have a discussion with your teenager, you can’t begin with your finger waving in the air and the words “I told you so.” “When I was your age,” will also lead you to a dead end. There will likely be no discussion. “When I was doing your job” will likely have the similar effect of killing any type of discussion in the workplace. These phrases do not invite discussion, they imply lecture. What outcome do you desire—a lecture or a discussion? It’s not about what you want to blurt, it’s about how you can craft your words to gain the desired outcome. That’s not manipulation; that’s effective living.


I often think about emotional climate in terms of a music metaphor.
-What type of music do you intend to play in the background?
-That music gives clues to the emotional climate that you create.
-Do you know people who are always playing the blues with whining steel guitars or droning violins?
-Do you know others who are playing “Flight of the Bumblebee?”
- How about others who always seem to be dancing to polka music?

- Still others who sound like background music to a good war flick or thriller?
- Self-control allows us to decide the emotional tone rather than have a station stuck that we can’t seem to change.
-Crafting the emotional climate takes skill and practice.

Contributed By: Sunanda Anubhav Arora

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