We see an escalation of violence and cruelty in the world and the core of it all is the lack of controlled desires and a prevalence of uncontrolled desires. Desires encompass everything from emotions to passions. What you do is your choice. What you feel may not be a choice, but how you react as a result of how you feel is your choice.
How many men see women and children walk by and don’t rape them? Many.
How many people feel like killing someone and probably wish them dead but don’t do it? Many.
Unfortunately, some of our fellow human beings don’t know how to control their passions.
Uncontrolled passions show an incapacity for discipline and self-willed behaviour.
Just watch the news and you’ll see evidence of this daily. Or visit a hospital or prison. (Institutions which try to save or lock up people who are caught on either side of uncontrolled passions—either victims or perpetrators)
Man kills his wife and children in a fit of rage.
Wife stabs her husband after suspecting infidelity.
A girl is raped by her own father.
Woman pours hot water on her best friend.
The headlines proclaim evidence of uncontrolled desires among humans.
Easy it is to fall into that trap of living a life of uncontrolled desires. Hard it is to live a life of controlled desires. It takes a lot of effort and self-discipline on your part.
Why it’s Hard to Control Strong Desires
Our world promotes the idea that living uncontrolled is cool. Think of commercials which advertise alcohol or gambling. They make it appear like engaging in the activity or using the product they are selling makes you some sort of winner in life who is better than everyone else, hence, appealing to human beings desires.
No wonder it’s hard to live a life of controlled desires, and many of us opt for the alternative.
Most desires feel good and naturally push people to seek relief. The problem arises when people choose wrong ways of satisfying their desires and hurt themselves or other people in the process. For this reason, people find themselves having irrational impetuousness and making rash decisions.
There is nothing wrong with strong desires. Desires and passions are natural and part of the whole human experience. However, uncontrolled desires are the problem.
Don’t for a moment think you are above falling for the trap of uncontrolled desires.
As long as you are a normal human being, you might find yourself in a situation where you fail to control your desires. Controlling your strong desires is a necessary skill you need to use and improve daily.
How to live a life of controlled desires and avoid being a pathetic human being
You can control your desires and passions to live a quality life void of avoidable suffering. Even if you have been poor at practising the skill of controlling your desires before, don’t let that kill your self-worth. The following are key ways human beings have used to control their desires since time immemorial.
Be selective in the pleasures you pursue.
You don’t have to pursue everything you desire. Learn to choose which desires are worth pursuing and which are not. Tame your passions by analysing the consequences of your action before fulfilling your desires. Delay your gratification of strong desires. The end result of some pleasures is more pain than enjoyment.
Cut down your desires.
Can’t control your desires? No worries, you can cut them down. You cannot continue feeling what you choose not to. If experiencing a certain strong desire which you know will have negative repercussions for you, you need to cut it. You may do so by removing yourself from situations, environments, or people who ignite that desire in you. Also, weighing what you got to lose versus what you got to gain from pursuing uncontrolled passions can help you to cut down on those desires.
For instance, if you are married and you love your family and spouse, acting according to your uncontrolled desire to commit infidelity can result in numerous bad consequences. You might lose your family, get more stress from the other person, a host of diseases, self-loathing, lack of respect or trust and so forth.
Practise willful behaviour.
Remember, it’s your actions which make you either a good or bad person. Your actions will define who you are, and not your desire. Therefore, think over your actions before you act on them according to your desires. Desires can be so strong that they cloud your judgement and make you act recklessly. That’s why you need willful behaviour which involves making deliberate actions instead of impulsiveness. To achieve this you need to practise self-discipline.
Live a temperate life.
Indulge in whatever passions you pursue moderately. This is a useful skill for controlling the appetite for food, sex, and alcohol. Moderation in habits and actions without going to the extremes just to seek a thrill of the moment which can lead to unwanted situations. Instead of pursuing small things (e.g. the desires of gossip, pornography, addictions etc.) and the satisfaction of momentary pleasures with passion focus on great things ( e.g. God’s love, friendship, kindness, personal development etc.)
Live a simple life.
Living a simple life can help you to keep your desires under control. To achieve this needs a strong mind which is not easily swayed by the world in which people live to show off their wealth (real or imagined.)
A simple life entails living within your means at a level you are comfortable with. Not the pursuit of accumulating material things so that you can impress people, but the contentment with where you have reached in life as an individual.
If you still have a problem with uncontrolled desires, after trying various methods, then, there is a need for psychological help. You may seek the help of a professional therapist.
Live a life of controlled desires. Life is for living. Keep living. Don’t give up.