Self-mastery is defined as the ability to wield a powerful will against impulses of any kind so that our future can be the one we have chosen. It is achieved by being aware of our thoughts and controlling them along with our actions and emotions.
It is a knack where an individual recognizes, identifies, understands and exerts his thoughts in the best possible manner to achieve emotional, mental and physical stability.
What is self-mastery?
Self-mastery is considered very important as it can transform your life for the better. It contradicts negative thoughts and emotions and helps an individual to make decisions based on rational thought process and not heightened emotions.
Process of self-mastery
The process of self-mastery starts with self-awareness and ends with self-mastery. It includes the following
The first step in self-mastery is self-awareness. It is about gaining insight about personal beliefs, tendencies, values and personality and analyzing emotions, actions and beliefs to determine principles.
It is a fact that when you can understand yourself properly, it is easy to achieve control over your life and actions. Our thoughts continuously take us to the past as well as future. Self-awareness helps us to be in the present so that we can be aware of our thoughts and emotions now.
The second step in self-mastery is self-knowledge. It is a fact that self-awareness will lead towards self-knowledge, and it will help an individual to understand what he stands for, his purpose, values and principles and how he is applying them in his life.
It is self-knowledge that gives him an insight into his strengths, the areas where he can improve and the areas where he is at his best.
The third step in self-mastery is self-development. Self-awareness and self-knowledge do not have any real purpose until and unless it leads to self-development. Here the term means the willingness to take action so that it can lead to change.
Developing self-awareness assist in understanding your core beliefs, and this helps in changing behaviour, emotions and thoughts easier. Once you start acting on self-knowledge, it becomes possible and easy to reach your full potential and achieve self-mastery
Once you align with self-awareness, self-knowledge and self-development, it becomes possible to achieve self-mastery. It provides a person with the will that can assist in realizing his vision for the future.
Steps to Develop self-mastery
The steps to develop self-mastery include-
- Nourish your mind with positivity and keep it healthy. The aim is to control the mind and not let it control you. Be clear on how you want your life to be. It is a clear mindset that will define your goals.
- Create a compelling vision that will force you to seek growth and improvement
- Make it a habit of moving towards the goals every day through small baby steps.
- Build a long-standing commitment because self-mastery requires persistence and dedication along with continuous practice. Repetition via daily practice is the mantra of achieving success
- You can write the goals or tell someone that you have decided to create that life to make it real. Once you start concentrating on what is necessary, the mind will automatically start filtering out the unimportant things.
- Living with discipline is very important for a person who wants to achieve self-mastery. It will boost your willpower so that it becomes stronger. The mantra is to stick with good habits and lead a disciplined life
- Accept that our mind will initially resist positive change. Negative feelings like guilt and shame will delay our progress whereas self-compassion and self-acceptance will help in negotiating with change
- Expect to backslide and do not be discouraged. Self-acceptance and self-compassion will be useful tools to propel you forward once again
- An essential step in this process is making peace with your past. There are negative experiences that can stop us in moving forward. It becomes essential to make peace and forgiving the people connected with it. We should not allow negative experiences from the past to destroy our present and future hence start with a clean state
- Try to replace any lingering negative thoughts with positive ones. Talk to yourself and try mastering it with persistence. Make it a habit so that it becomes ingrained.
- Challenge your reasoning and thought process. Think about things from the perspective of others as it will help you to see it from different angles. It will become easy to eliminate unreasonable bias from your thoughts
- Keep a journal so that you can go through your thought and behaviour patterns and become aware of them. When realization starts seeping in, it becomes easier to change and grow.
- Do not be a mute bystander instead take an active approach so that you become the performer and not the spectator. If a situation requires immediate response take the initiative. Stop hesitating and jump right in to do what is right
- Assess your strengths and weakness, honestly. Make sure that your weakness transforms into your strengths so that you can become the best version of yourself.
- Serve others selflessly as it will give you a good feeling
- Develop strong willpower to stick with your resolutions. It will help in improving rational and emotional thoughts so that you can achieve self-mastery
- Distractions are everywhere, and the key is to stay focused. Do not give in to temptations as it will throw you back.
- Live with moderation. Eat when required, and fast regularly. Better stop eating before you are full as it will improve control in life.
- Make a firm commitment to yourself to connect with your inner self every day. Speak affirmations and practice yoga, meditation, exercises etc. as it will replace negativity with positivity in life.
- It takes time and effort to achieve self-mastery hence be persistent and continue with the steps mentioned above.
The advantages of self-mastery are as follows-
- Self-mastery helps to control emotional impulses
- Self-mastery assist in achieving clarity on what is essential and what is not
- Self-mastery helps in making decisions based on rational thinking
- Self-mastery helps a person in taking control of his life
- Self-mastery gives the necessary nudge so that a person can follow through his intentions and promises
- Self-mastery helps to develop attitudes, beliefs and habits so that a person can lead his life to the fullest
- Self-mastery helps a person to become content in life
- Self-mastery helps a person to live in the present moment
- Self-mastery helps to replace negative thoughts and emotions with positive ones
- Self-mastery helps to create room for good feelings like happiness, fulfilment, gratitude and love
- Self-mastery is considered a commitment to never-ending improvement.
Hindrances/obstacles to self-Mastery
Pursuing the path of self-mastery is not easy as an individual will have to face several obstacles along the road. There are no short-cuts on this road, and an individual will have to be prepared for the following hindrances-
The first hindrance to self-mastery refers to sensual desire. It means the pursuit of immediate pleasure and instant gratification of wants. Abundance often leads to negative consequences because it feels good to focus on personal desires.
If you want to remove this hindrance, you will have to deprive yourself of extreme pleasure of life and learn to live with moderation.
2. Ill will / aversion
The second hindrance to self-mastery is ill will. It refers to avoiding a specific experience consciously as it is an obstacle in your path. It can be a negative thought, bad mood or anger against someone etc.
In simple terms, it means that to move forward sometimes an individual will have to do the things he has an aversion to
The third hindrance in self-mastery is dullness or heaviness. It is a fact that when a person is de-motivated, it will cause depression and ultimately, a dull mind will result in heaviness in our body.
If you want to remove this hindrance from your life, motivate yourself, and you will see a marked difference day-by-day.
The next hindrance to self-mastery is restlessness or an unsettled mind. If you want to remove this obstacle from your life, stop thinking about the past or future and pay attention to the present. Focus on something constructive so that the mind can quieten down and achieve peace and tranquillity
5. Sceptical doubt
An essential hindrance to self-mastery is sceptical doubt for instance am I right, am I doing the right thing, what will everyone say etc.
If you want to remove this obstacle from your life, then stop doubting your decisions and be confident to take the required action without self-doubts.
Self-mastery is a process that gives a person control over himself so that he can move forward towards his goal with persistence and discipline. The right mindset and dedicated practice are essential tools that can help you in your endeavours.