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Why You Shouldn’t Suppress Yourself in Face of Temptations

Why You Shouldn’t Suppress Yourself in Face of Temptations

When that little devil pops up on your shoulder, urging you to give in to your desires, of course your first instinct is to swat him away and do the “right” thing. Right? Well, maybe not. Perhaps giving into your temptations is healthier than ignoring them, in calculated moderation of course.

Society tells us to suppress our urges, but releasing them in a healthy way could be more beneficial.

By suppressing our urges, we are denying ourselves of our true nature. There are a number of reasons why we hold ourselves back; be it social norms, laws or rules, or our own personal inhibitions.

But by letting go and letting ourselves act freely, we are transcending to a new level of self acceptance and empowerment. Furthermore, the more we suppress our urges, the more likely [1] they are to surface in an overwhelming or destructive manner.

With a little bit of compromise, you can give in to your urges, or find healthy alternatives to satisfy them. Depending on the nature of these urges, whether they’re bizarre, quirky, or on some level heinous, you can find a way to appropriately adapt them into your lifestyle.

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In the ancient practice of Ayurveda, denying your urges is a crime against wisdom.

We are taught to suppress our urges during our developmental years, conditioning us to do so throughout the rest of our lives. Wait until after class to use the bathroom, only eat during designated break times; refrain from coughing, sneezing, yawning, farting or burping in public. These are just a few examples of conditioned suppression. Because this is the polite thing to do.

Our bodies experience the sensations [2] to release these urges, because the stimuli in our nervous systems call for it. Denying our body of what it calls for can be a major cause and agitator of disease development. We need to listen to our bodies and honor what they call for. Or it will disrupt the homeostasis, the internal balance of the body and mind.

Just as our nervous systems stimulate us to release these natural urges, our desires and imaginations stimulate us as well; requiring us to act or react in a certain manner in order to find balance.

By nurturing your urges as they arise, you may be avoiding a huge conflict down the line.

Although at times suppression may be necessary; as in an instance where you need to ignore negative feelings in order to overcome an obstacle, or you’re in a situation where acting on your desires just would not be appropriate. Expression is really also equally as vital for your well- being.

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Just as we are conditioned to suppress our natural urges, we are taught to suppress our emotional urges as well. The helpful aspect of this practice is not allowing the emotions to take on a roll of their own by always keeping them in check. But at the same time you are denying yourself the benefits that come with the coping process and allowing yourself to heal.

Various scientific studies have shown that suppression can lead to high levels of stress and relapse.

In a case study [3] orchestrated by scientists Brett J. Peters, Nikola C. Overall, and Jeremy P. Jameison, it had been concluded that the suppression of urges had very negative psychological effects on both the subjects and their partners. In extreme cases, the data shows that suppression can be linked to extreme stress, memory impairment and psychopathology.

When the subject is instructed to suppress their reactions and feelings, it makes their partners uncomfortable because they cannot assess their moods or intentions. In turn, this takes a very negative toll on the relationships.

Another case study [4] carried out by James A.K. Erskine, George J. Georgiou, and Lia Kvavilashvili, a group of individuals who smoke were split into two groups during a 3 week period.

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During this time, half of the group was asked to mentally suppress their urges to smoke. During the second week when they were no longer required to suppress, the controlled group smoked more cigarettes than those who were not asked to suppress. These people also had much higher stress levels than those not asked to suppress.

In conclusion, the individuals who were asked to suppress experiences high levels of stress, and were more inclined to indulge in the activity they attempted to suppress than those who were not asked to do so. Basically, if you deny yourself something, you’re going to want it more.

Don’t suppress, express! Use these methods to indulge in your urges in a healthy manner.

To Compromise

Now before you lower all of your inhibitions and let that freak flag fly, just consider the nature of your urges. If they are at all harmful, you need to find a different outlet for that release.

Let’s say you have the urge to punch someone in the face. Well, you can’t really do that and it will probably pan out very negatively for you. Instead, take a kickboxing class. Punch a bunch of punching bags, it’s what they’re there for. Or perhaps you’re trying to quit smoking. Vaping is an excellent alternative. Or you could also keep a stash of healthy snacks on hand to satisfy your oral fixation.

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To Plan Ahead 

If you know that your urge is going to become overwhelming at some point, make a game plan.

Let’s say that you have strong sexual urges that can sometimes be destructive. If you find yourself in a situation where you can predict a regrettable morning after, acquire a suitable wing-man (or woman) who will keep you entertained and ensure that you go home alone.

Planning ahead and having a substitute for the unhealthy urge will help to disconnect the thought process between the urge and giving in to the temptation.

To Analyze Appropriateness 

Gauge your surroundings. If it’s an appropriate environment to exercise your urges, then have it. Sexual urges? They have clubs for that. Violent urges? Join a gym. Cross-dressing urges? Book a gig at a drag bar. Feel like busting out a dance number as if your life is a musical? Well as long as you don’t hit anyone while you flail about you can do that just about anywhere.

Just ensure that by indulging in your desires, you aren’t harming anyone else.

Reference

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Jenn Beach

Traveling vagabond, freelance writer, & plantbased food enthusiast.

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Last Updated on February 19, 2019

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

No one wants to suffer. As a general rule, people like to avoid hurt and pain as much as possible. As a species, humans want a painless existence so much that scientists make a living trying to create it.

People can now choose “pain-free” labor for babies, and remedies to cure back pain, headaches, body-pains and even mental pains are a dime a dozen. Beyond medicine, we also work hard to experience little pain even when it comes to loss; often times we believe a breakup won’t hurt as much if we are the ones to call it off.

But would a world without pain truly be painless? It’s unlikely. In fact, it would probably be painful exactly for that reason.

If people never experienced hurt, they wouldn’t know what it was. On the surface level, that seems like a blessing, but think for a moment: if we didn’t know pain, how would we know peace? If you don’t know you’ve hurt or been hurt, how would you know that you need to heal? Imagine someone only knowing they have an incurable cancer at the final stage because no obvious symptoms have appeared at early stages.

Without the feeling of pain, people won’t be aware of dangerous situations—what should or shouldn’t do for survival.

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Pain Is Our Guardian

Pain serves to protect human beings from harmful actions. It’s the same reason parents teach babies that fire equals hot, and that hot equals hurt. Should the baby still place its hand in a fire or on a stove, the intense pain remains so memorable, that the child is certain never to repeat that action.

In the same way, pain within human bodies can serve as a warning that something is not right. Because you know what it is to feel “well,” you know what it is to feel poorly.[1]

Along with serving as a teacher of what not to do, pain also teaches you what you are made of in terms of what you can handle as an individual.

While the cliche, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a tired term, it’s used excessively for a reason: it’s true. Pain helps you learn to cope with life’s inevitable difficulties and sadnesses— to develop the grit it takes to push past hardships and carry on.

Whether it’s a shattering pain, like the loss of a loved one or a debilitating accident, pain affects everyone differently. But it still affects everyone. Take a breakup as an example, anyone who has experienced it knows it can hurt to the point of feeling physical. Especially the first breakup. At a young age, it feels like the loss of the only love you’ll ever know. As you grow and learn, you realize you’re more resilient with every ended relationship.

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No Pain, No Happiness

You only know happiness when you have known pain. While the idea of constant happiness sounds nice, there is little chance it would be. Without the comparison to happiness, there’s no reason to be grateful for it. That is to say, without ever knowing sadness or pain, you would have no reason to be grateful for happiness.

In reality, there is always something missing, or something unpleasant, but it is only through those realizations that you know to be grateful when you feel you have it all. Read more about why happiness and pain have to exist together: Chasing Happiness Won’t Make You Happy

In a somewhat counter-intuitive finding, researchers found one of the things that brings about the most happiness is challenge. When people are tested, they experience a greater sense of accomplishment and happiness when they are successful. It is largely for this reason that low-income individuals can often feel happier than those who have a sense of wealth.[2]

This is a great thing to remember the next time you feel you would be happier if you just had a little more cash.

Avoiding Pain Leads to More Suffering

Pain is inevitable, embrace it positively. Anyone who strives to have a painless life is striving for perfectionism; and perfectionism guarantees sadness because nothing will ever be perfect.

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This isn’t a bleak outlook, but rather a truthful one. The messy moments in life tend to create the best memories and gratitude. Pain often serves as a reminder of lessons learned, much like physical scars on the body.

Pain will always be painful, but it’s the hurt feelings that help wiser decisions be made.

Allow Room for the Inevitable

Learning how to tolerate pain, especially the emotional kind, is a valuable lesson.

Accepting and feeling pain makes you human. There is no weakness in that. Weakness only comes when you try to blame your own pain on someone else, expecting the blame to alleviate your hurting. There’s a saying,

“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.”

Think back to the last time you were really angry with someone. Maybe you were hurt because you got laid off from a job. You felt angry and that anger caused so much pain that you could feel it in a physical way. Being angry and blaming your ex boss for that pain didn’t affect him or her in any way; you’re the only one who lost sleep over it.

The healthier thing to do in a situation like that is acknowledge your pain and the anger along with it. Accept it and explore it in an introspective way. How can you learn and grow? What is at the root of that pain? Are you truly hurting and angry about being laid off, or is the pain more a correlation to you feeling like you failed?

While uncomfortable, exploring your pain is a way to raise your self-awareness. By understanding more about yourself, you know how to deal with similar situations in the future. You can never expect to be numb to difficult situations, but you will learn to better prepare financially for the loss of a job and be grateful for an income since you now know nothing is promised (no matter how much you work or how deserving you may feel).

Pain Hurts, but Numbness Would Be Worse

Pain does not feel good, but the bad feeling of it will help you learn and grow. It makes the sweet moments in life even sweeter and the gratitude more sincere.

To have a happier and more successful life, you don’t learn from success or accomplishment, but through pain and failures. For it is in those moments that you learn how to do better in the future or at least cope a little more easily.

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You are the strong person you are today because of the hardships this life has presented to you. While you may have felt out of control when those hard times came, the one thing you will always have control over is how you choose to react to things. The next time you hurt or you’re angry or sad, acknowledge it and allow yourself to ruminate in it. Then take a deep breath and start learning from that pain. You’ve got this!

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

[1] University of Calgary: Why is Pain Important?
[2] Greater Good Magazine: The Importance of Pain

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