Willpower- The Not so Invisible Force
It calls to you like a sweet lullaby, lurking beneath the pasta and cereal, but you remind yourself not to give into the temptation. Regardless, your hand reaches for it anyway; without the consent of your brain. Just as your finger-tips touch the plastic wrapper of the last chocolate bar in the cupboard, your brain finally takes hold and snaps your hand back into your jean pocket. What is this invisible force that has hastily retracted your hand from indulging in sweet surrender?
That force is called willpower. It comes in many different strategies and many different forces, yet sometimes it does not even come at all. Sometimes when we are in need of it most, the will-power to not do something is nowhere to be found.
There are many people who feel that willpower has a mind of its own, but in reality we are the ones who hold the neck of it. We are the ones who steer it in the right direction and steer it in the wrong direction. There are plenty of us out there that have enormous amounts of willpower, but believe that we have none. This is because willpower can very easily be wrongly directed. Often times, people believe that they could improve their lives if only they had a little more of that willower we all have instilled within us. The truth is that willpower is not as invisible as we think. It lives within us, waiting to be utilized in the healthiest way. It would be easier if it went dormant for decisions that do not benefit us, but that is not the case. The key to willpower is using it for the right things and sometimes this process takes people years, but it does not have to be that way.
Personally, I struggle with the willpower to make the right decisions every day of my life. There is not an hour that goes by throughout my day when I do not reference the back of my brain and ask my willpower a couple of questions. The problem for me is not whether or not I have willpower. I know I have the willpower and I know that the willpower that I have is not weak. I struggle with steering it in directions that are best for me. There are many times when I take a situation and pick it apart to pieces, looking at the positives and the negatives, sometimes for hours. I contemplate what the right decision is and by the end of the day I know what the right decision is. Seems pretty straight forward, right? Knowing the right decision and then just to do it! However, that is nearly ever the case. The right thing to do is usually the hardest and often times, I lean towards the opposite direction. It is my willpower that then hits me in the face, spins me around and shoves me towards the route that my mind knows is best.
As a young woman, I am faced with challenges each day and I am persuaded into following the wrong path. For years, I let my heart hold me by the neck and override what I knew was the best
thing to do. Whether the decision was staying in a friendship that was unhealthy or a relationship that was damaging, there was always something that my heart and my head were fighting about. If there is one thing that I have learned thus far in life, it is that barely ever do my heart and my head agree. What my heart wants, my brain often knows better. Life is a constant battle between emotion and reason. If we can find a way to let our willpower settle this ongoing battle between the two, only then may we find peace. I believe that, with practice and a little bit of willpower, that battle can come to an agreement. It won’t be without a little blood, sweat, and tears, but it will be worth it. There is nothing worse than feeling like you have no control over your mind, body and soul.
By no means do I have the whole process figured out, but that’s what makes life so interesting. The fight is what we get up for in the morning. The human body is capable of experiencing so many different things, so many great things and so many terrible things. Life can truly be so incred-ibly intriguing and beautiful if it is utilized in the right way. That energy that pushes a person to run the last mile of a triathlon or the force that drives a person to pluck the strings of a guitar is the same energy that creates the burning sensation on your lips when you kiss a lover or that crippling sensation that pulses through your veins when you lose a friend. Those are the things that true willpower thrives on and will grasp onto. If you believe in yourself and have faith that you are capable of achieving your goals, true willpower will follow.
It is funny how many people believe that willpower is this invisible, mysterious force that science cannot define. Willpower is defined by what you make of it. You can use it to stick a needle in your arm through beat up veins and bruises or you can use it to write the last page of a midterm exam. Willpower is not so much invisible, but more so waiting for you to sculpt it into what you want it to be. Life is what you make it. So is your determination, ambition and willpower. Make the right decisions and do what is best for you in your life. Other people can help you find where to channel that energy, but at the end of the day it is up to you and no one else. When you’re lying in bed at night thinking about everything in your life, remember that you are in control of a lot more of it then you think.