I was so mad I was slamming my fingers down on the keys of my laptop. I was smack-dab in the middle of my divorce, and it seemed like a day didn’t go by where my soon-to-be-former spouse had done something completely outrageous or ridiculous (or both). I was trying to do the right thing by venting my anger in my journal. Most of the time it worked, but on this day it seemed the more I typed, the angrier I became. Finally, afraid that I was going to break my computer, I jumped up and started pacing around the room. As each new angry thought rushed into my head, I raced over to the phone and picked it and started dialing my spouse ready to unleash my anger. Each time, I would come to my senses and hang up the phone. This happened three or four times until I gave up in frustration and went for a long walk.
When I returned, I saw my laptop right where I had left it. It was a reminder of my near meltdown an hour earlier. Instead of picking up where I left off, I was much calmer and my mind was clear. The anger and frustration were gone. In a weird way, I actually felt good. I felt good that I had not let my anger get the best of me. I felt proud of myself for the incredible amount of self-control I was able to muster. While I had failed many times in the past, this time I had taken the more difficult route of not succumbing to my emotions, and I actually felt in charge of my life for the first time in a long time.
When you overcome a temptation or are able to show self-control in the heat-of-the-moment, you turn impending failure into certain success. The more you are able to do this, the easier it gets. The self-confidence, self-respect, and, in general, positive results you receive in return, are the fruits of virtuous living. In this case, the cardinal virtues of temperance, prudence, and fortitude. As with any virtue, practice definitely makes perfect. Next time you are ready to blow your stack, or crumble under temptation, pray for the strength to act with virtue. You will be glad you did!
Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion, devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love. – 2 Peter 1:5-7