Hello everybody, welcome to episode 35 of Optimal Living Advice, the podcast where we take your life related questions and answer them on the show. I’m your host, certified life coach Greg Audino.
We’ve got a question today that I find particularly interesting. It’s a question about temptation — a topic I find particularly interesting not only because of how it works but also because of how people handle it. But I’m getting way ahead of myself. Here’s the question…
QUESTION: “As a man of faith, I think I speak for all believers when I say that there is a lot of temptation these days in all forms. What would be your advice for handling this temptation?”
Short and sweet. Let’s do it.
So you mention that you’re a man of faith. I think it goes without saying that temptation is sort of a hot button topic when it comes to religion. In most religions, temptation is not just brushed off and not given a second thought; it’s something to be paid extra attention to — but in sort of a funny way.
I’ll get back to that in a second, though. What I want to start off by doing is briefly separating temptation from anyone’s beliefs surrounding temptation — whether that anyone is religious or not.
Let’s try to look at temptation completely objectively.
An Objective Look at Temptation
When we’re tempted by something, we feel an urge to have it. Certainly, urges don’t just come from nowhere; they’re driven by a desire for something we don’t have; an unfulfilled need. And whether you want to call that desire good or bad based on the object of your temptation, it’s desire all the same.
So temptation is really our body’s — or our mind’s — way of telling us what we’re deficient in. Because of this, temptation can be a great teacher both of what we stand to gain AND what we stand to lose.
But it’s not often treated that way, and that’s what I meant when I said “funny.” When you think of temptation in relation to religion, what comes to my mind at least, is “resist temptation.”
Stay in line with and don’t stray from your beliefs.
So while temptation is often paid extra attention to in this way, it’s also NOT paid attention to because, for many of us, it’s easy to just dismiss feelings of temptation as being bad for us. It’s easy to overlook what temptation might be teaching us about our personalities, our pasts, our lies, our ability to take risks, the triggers that we might be setting ourselves up with in the environments we create for ourselves, and much more.
Temptation to Understand Yourself Better
It’s my personal belief that everyone, regardless of their religious beliefs, owes it to themselves to at least poke and prod their temptations as a means of understanding themselves better. Consider what you might learn from them, don’t ignore them.
Mind you, this is NOT the same as acting on your temptations.
After considering your temptations at a deeper level, you might find it in your best interest to act on some of them, but that’s for you to figure out. And all I encourage people to do is to at least ask themselves these questions, because whether or not a temptation should be acted on depends 100% on the situation at hand.
Take a Look at Your History with Temptations
So my first piece of optimal living advice for you, sir, is to question temptations past and present. Are there temptations from way back when that, realistically, you might have been better off if you’d acted on? What signs from the beginning have helped you differentiate between feelings of temptation that are spur of the moment vs feelings of temptation ran deeper than that? How have you been deficient in the areas in which you’re tempted, and is how important to you is that deficiency when compared to your other values?
As you ask yourself these questions, you might find yourself getting into a rhythm of seeing how temptation could stand to serve you. You might even find outlets for how acting upon temptations could actually coincide with your faith or another big value of yours. Maybe you’re regularly tempted to punch out people that you don’t like. 1-2-3 and presto, all of a sudden you’re teaching a boxing class within your religious community that’s based upon self-defense. That might be an absurd arrival I just came to, but you see where I’m going with this.
With More Restrictions…Comes More Temptation
Now, another thing I want to say to you and all others that hold high living standards for themselves. Anyone who’s passionate about religion, perhaps military members, people who love dieting, whatever: It’s important to understand that the more restriction you put on yourself, the more temptation there will be.
I’m not saying this is good or bad — you could make an argument for both, depending on who you are. But it IS a fact. It is the natural opposite that has to come with a decision that requires commitment and restriction. There’s no way around it.
As a matter of fact, if you do find yourself in one of the positions I just mentioned or something similar, having a lot of temptation in your life is only a sign that whatever you’re involved in is big and present. For you, that’s faith. You’re obviously a very devoted man to be having these feelings and asking these questions, which is something I hope you feel good about. Anyone who says differently is likely just not expressing the truth of their temptation the same way that you are.
I’m gonna wrap things up on a note here that admittedly makes me feel a little greasy. I actually made a gregaudino.com video once upon a time and long ago called Telling Temptation — one of my first ones, but one of my favorites.
I’m going to quote it — I’m going to quote myself.
I realize what I’m doing here. But I’m doing it because I feel there was a good takeaway that I want all people struggling with temptation to hear.
The excerpt goes: “as you change, the results of your decisions stay with you. It’s very natural to find oneself in a situation that’s not right for one to be in and to start seeking remedies whether they be healthy or unhealthy. And whether or not these remedies are acted upon, it is this very cycle, and the observation OF IT that determines how our lives progress and either compounds into future temptations or enables us to find better alignment between our actions and our values”
Is it ok to quote oneself? I don’t know. It was for a good cause.
Hope everyone got it. Hope everyone got something from the video. Always particularly interesting to look at certain topics through the lens of a specific belief system, as of course, our strong beliefs of any kind cause us to see common things differently from many others. So this was a great question to have answered and I hope it was relatable for people of all religious backgrounds.
And if you’ve got a great question, or any question that means a lot to you, and you’re not quite sure you have the information or the support system to get it answered, email it on over to us at advice AT oldpodcast DOT com
You know we support all our listeners in their respective struggles and we’d be happy to try our hand at answering your questions and helping you out here on the show. We’ll even send you a free book from our collection, so don’t miss out.
That does it for this one, though, my dear friends. Hope you liked it, hope to see you nice time. Take care.