Monday, December 1, 2014

The Power of Self Control



Rebecca was working on a paper this past week regarding Superheroes and the psychology behind their characters.  “Dad, did you know that Batman had no super powers?” she asked me.  “Yes, I did know,” I responded.  “But,” she continued, “He did have one power – self control.” She went on to explain that he never crossed a line that he had set for himself, one that included never killing his foes. Batman fought some nefarious characters, but always exhibited that self-control.  As we have just finished our Thanksgiving weekend, the thought of self-control has begun to fill my head, but not necessarily in terms of defeating enemies (real or imaginary).

This time of the year, we tend to get caught up in the holiday spirit.  It is a time for celebration (eating and drinking) and a time for shopping for holiday gifts.  Every Thanksgiving, we look forward to this holiday feast where we enjoy a large turkey, plenty of tasty side dishes and yummy desserts!  We eat, we watch football, we socialize and then engage in round II of eating.  In the next month, there are holiday parties, both at friends’ houses and through work.  At our places of business, the company holiday party is the one time of the year that the “big bosses” come out to share a drink and socialize with everyone.  The holidays themselves are a time to gather with our family and friends to enjoy holiday meals and exchange presents.  The holiday season ends with New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day parties.  The next few weeks have the making for a fun time.

I am all for celebrating!  However, this is the one time of year that we tend to drop our control mechanism.  I know that I over eat (yes, Debbie will hear me moaning about this).  However, the holidays should not be an excuse to lower our guard.  There is no reason why I should gain weight in December.  I know that there are times of the year where we are under stress and it is good to “let off a little stream” to de-stress ourselves, but we still need to be vigilant on our de-stressing helper.  In the age of cell phone cameras and posting everything online, it takes only one misstep in self-control that can ruin the images that we work so hard to create (think of Mel Gibson’s drunken ranting or Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah's couch).    We tend to sometimes get too caught up in the gift giving process (i.e., buying gifts) that the efforts we took during the year to watch our spending seems to take a 4-week hiatus.   It is good to celebrate, but we do not want to start the New Year saying to ourselves, what did I do, how much did I drink, or, I spent how much? 

Out of all the Superheroes that we liked as kids, Batman was, and is, still the most human of Superheroes.  He lived a life protecting the innocent and followed his set of values and beliefs no matter what the situation, no matter how evil his rivals were.  In addition, he never made excuses for his actions.  These are definitely traits to aspire towards this season, and, all year long.

Happy Holidays!