Genisis 2:18 tells us, “It is not good for man to be alone.” The theology of the body builds on this idea to assert the donative meaning of our body and science has ample examples of why people are social by nature. Add this one to the list.
According to new research, if you’re struggling with self control, the best way to achieve it is to surround yourself with strong-willed friends.
We all desire self-control — the resolve to skip happy hour and go to the gym instead, to finish a report before checking Facebook, to say no to the last piece of chocolate cake. Though many struggle to resist those temptations, new research suggests that people with low self-control prefer and depend on people with high self-control, possibly as a way to make up for the skills they themselves lack.
…The findings are particularly interesting because previous research has typically focused on the downsides of low self-control, such as poorer academic achievement and health outcomes. But this new research suggests that individuals who lack self-control may actually have a unique skill: the ability to pick up on self-control cues in others and use those cues to form adaptive relationships.
“What we have shown is that low self-control individuals seem to implicitly surround themselves with individuals who can help them overcome temptation — you get by with a little help from your friends,” says (lead researcher) Catherine Shea (READ MORE)
This shouldn’t be a huge surprise for anyone who has every tried to diet or exercise–or make any other major change–on their own, but the piece that I think is important to emphasize is how important reaching out to others is when trying to make a change. Often, I will ask clients who are struggling with anger, or trying to overcome a porn addiction, or recover from infidelity, what they think they need to do to change their ways. The most common response is, “I just need to not do that anymore.”
If only it were that simple. None of us like to show our weaknesses to others, but when we can find the courage to openly discuss our problems–especially with people who are in the position to help us, we can borrow a little of their health and strength to make up for what we lack. Pride is the deadliest sin because it stops us from being willing to ask for help. If you’re looking to make a change, reach out to someone who has the strength you’d like to borrow today.
—-If it’s time to make a change in your marriage, family, or personal life, contact the Pastoral Solutions Institute to learn more about working with a faithful, professional, Catholic counselor through out Catholic tele-counseling practice.