Is a Lack of Moderation Simply a Lack of Self-Control?

green steel container with biscuits lot
Photo by Izabella Bedő on

I am one of those strange creatures in life who doesn’t just have a minor deficiency when it comes to the trait of moderation; rather, it doesn’t exist whatsoever.

On a positive note, as obviously there has to be one, (I am nothing if not eternally hopeful) what it does mean is that we non-moderators are full of passion. We are ones of extremes. There is no soft diffusing button, melting polars into each other. It is one or the other.

When we love, it is with intensity. God help those on the receiving end. They should be given a manual on how to cope. But when we hate, we loathe with an intensity second to none. I’m beginning to understand why as a little girl I found finding friends so difficult.

Whatever relationship we have, be it with another human being or even something as simple as food or drink, (yes I’m going there), it is extreme.

For example a fellow blogger (you know who you are) has a complete passion for ice cream, a certain flavoured ice cream I seem to recall, my love however is ginger nut biscuits. Put a packet in front of me and whoosh! They’re gone. The problem is that being so crunchy, it’s not something that can be quietly nibbled on whilst watching the telly. Unless, like in the cinema you wait until there’s a particularly noisy scene and then munch like crazy before it all goes suddenly quiet again and you’re caught out with a mouthful of half crunched crisps or biscuits going slightly soggy in your mouth but determined not to ruin everyones viewing within six feet. Tricky.

Sadly, I have little self control in this area. If I am on my own and therefore decorum can be eased somewhat, I don’t nibble delicately, I guzzle. Not ladylike I am fully aware, but I can promise you that I will never do this in your company.

But is this just a lack of self control? Of discipline? How did we miss out on this important piece of learning? (Clearly I was smoking in the woods at school during this particular lesson.). If we had an ounce more restraint perhaps. A little composure and grace.

After all, let’s throw a little philosophy into the mix to enhance the point, isn’t temperance one of the four cardinal virtues? In ‘The Republic’ Plato (bear with me here …) narrates a discussion of the character of a good city which included temperance which he said was ‘common to all classes, but primarily associated with the producing classes, the farmers and craftsmen and with animal appetites to whom no special virtue was assigned.’ Does he mean that we craftsmen with animal appetites have temperance or simply need to have it … If Pluto speaks of it, then it must be true. How extraordinary though! Am I a ‘producing class’ ie ‘working class’? From reading Jilly Cooper’s book ‘Class’, I would very much have put myself down as middle class, so I’m now rather torn between believing Plato or Jilly. What a conundrum.

May I continue? Drinking … Once I developed a taste for it, frankly it was all over. Thankfully it wasn’t (apart from my totally off-the-rails stage late teens) until I was in my mid-forties that alcohol became less of a friend and more of a naughty, somewhat addictive lover. Again, rather less Jane Austin’s even raciest moments, and more Fifty Shades of Grey.

But of course somewhat predictably, I always take things to the farthermost point and suddenly discovered what had previously been a way of relaxing the body and mind at the end of the day, had become a serious problem. I suspect some of you can relate to that. By that stage of course there is a fairly acute issue to deal with.

Smoking … I’m not even going to bother going there .. It’s a constant and pathetically boring battle of mine of always wanting, but never allowed. I shall continue to stamp my feet and have a tantrum.

Happiness and/or sadness. No, that’s much too vanilla for the likes of us. It’s either pure unadulterated, unmitigated and all-consuming ecstasy or I’m researching how painful it is to die in various ‘formats’ and googling Dignitas. I write not with humour at this point.

Sport. We don’t do a gentle jog around the park, a lighthearted game of tennis or a cycle ride for twenty minutes in the middle gears. Pah! Of course not. We push ourselves to our utmost and ultimate limits. We need and feed off that feeling of intensity. So, that gentle jog results in marathons being completed, a course of tennis lessons ends in daily three hour practice sessions followed by competitions, and a bit of a cycle pootle results in foolhardy trips from north to southern France (I had to get that in didn’t I …)

The list however is endless and a lack of moderation seeps into every aspect of our lives. From levels of anxiety and depression, to anger, OCD, to social media and how we deal or don’t deal with it … on and on and bloody on.

For we non-moderators, life exists at each end of the spectrum and then some. Our minds are frenetic and often filled with dozens of thoughts racing around and we struggle to find which ones to put into action and which to ignore … It’s like running from the North Pole to the South, daily. Sparkly and glittering one day, damp, dark and depressing the next. And because we put our heart, soul and body into everything we do and think and say, perhaps it is hardly surprising that we feel the need for acknowledgment and even praise for our extreme efforts. Therefore we can be needy and demanding. Attractive qualities? No, probably not. It is however completely and utterly exhausting.

But where we lack middle ground, we make up for in other ways. You could never find a better friend. You could never find a person with more dedication for their chosen subject, person or sport. You will be loved with intensity and if you are married to us, then we will make love to you with unsurpassed passion. We are filled with the utmost emotions of joy, excitement, laughter and love.

Fear not, it is just our way. And if, if you should find us not too strange, unhinged, a little too erratic, and choose to accept us for the extraordinary creatures that we are, (perhaps sometimes very gently reminding us to be calm) and return our love, you would be hard pushed to find a more grateful, more loving recipient.

Katie xx

Do you know anyone like this, or is it in fact you?

45 thoughts on “Is a Lack of Moderation Simply a Lack of Self-Control?”

      1. I’ve tagged you in Rory’s 321 Quote Me game, if you want to participate great, if not, no worries xx

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Great post. I had to discipline myself with chocolate, and other nice edibles. Crunchy biscuits I find I have to eat them when I am irritable something to gnaw on, relieves the stresses. Love from me can be over-powering as I give so much. Bless you.

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  2. Thank you for the humorous and accurate character sketch of my person. I was contemplating a similar subject as I munched on my fourth handful of chocolate covered almonds yesterday. I had specifically limited myself to a handful since a diet tip is to only take a small serving -yet realized I had little desire for self-control when a very tiny internal voice suggested that I’d resolved to eat healthier.
    The ability to deny ourselves and set limits is associated with class. That’s why few uppers are fat. I’m sure everyone (I’m hoping) has cravings. Like you, though, I also feel alone in completely jumping into whatever mood I enter.

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    1. Chocolate covered almonds?! Oooooh yes! You do make me laugh … and you’re right we do all have cravings, I’m sure we wouldn’t be human otherwise, but perhaps some of us (clearly not me) are better at resisting them! Katie x

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  3. I have learned over the years to moderate myself to the extent that I hardly recognise myself. I can now ration myself to a mere two jars of Branston at a time – and I use a spoon rather than necking it straight out of the jar.
    One jar of pickled onions at a time – and yes it counts as different times if I rinse out the first jar before starting the second.
    I am very frugal. I don’t allow stuff to go to waste and I eat leftovers. A whole cake with one slice eaten (first) is leftovers so I take one for the team and don’t let it go stale.
    Equally the same applies to Baileys, Wine and books. I make sure I don’t waste time by buying books faster than I can read them just ensuring I never have a wasted minute with nothing to do.
    If that isn’t moderating bad behavior well I don’t know what is!

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      1. Well I was about to comment on your post about the foot rub as I did exactly the same thing to my husband last week in the garden and I thought that was extraordinary… but I was worried you mightn’t believe me so deleted my response. Yup, we’re twins.

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  4. Moderation is hard. 😦 For a long time, smartphone mobile games were the worst vice for me. It got so bad that I made the decision to quit any and all of them altogether. Since then it’s been a battle to stay “sober” from one particular 3-match game. I’ve had times where I reinstall it, play it for 30 minutes, get frustrated when I can’t beat a level, decide I just utterly wasted my time, and promptly delete it from my phone. This has happened like 4-5 times already. What is keeping me from doing it again is a very stiff reminder that the game is a distraction which is not good for my mental health. Since I quit mobile games, I’ve found that I have done way more with my spare time than sitting around glued to my phone.

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    1. Absolutely. It’s such an easy way to waste time. Fine if we’re sitting on a train or something and its a way to pass the time when we’re doing something else, but awful if that is our main activity and it’s taking over. Well done you for recognising that it wasn’t good for you and ditching it. I hope you’re proud of this. You should be. 👍

      Liked by 2 people

  5. My Uncle always said the wise man practices moderation in all things and in my later years I have understood what he meant. Unfortunately he died three years ago at the age of not quite 90 so I can’t impart his brilliant result to him. The fact that I have always been the hound that runs too fast and too far, the truffle pig that refuses to stop after finding one huge trove at the foot of an oak tree nor the bumble bee that knows when enough pollen means I have some chance of making it back to the hive alive rather than dying of exhaustion because I’m so weighed down in the heat meant that I had to actively work to achieve this nirvana of good sense and self-control. Smoking had to be banished entirely, drinking has to be with others or not at all, endeavors have to be chatted through with sound minded people for my own safety. I put it down to having such an active mind …. others put it down to a flip-brain!!

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    1. Oh my goodness, you have found a way with the help of your (very) wise uncle of how to do it then. You have self control! I am not only envious, I am impressed, but will remind myself as I go to aisle number 17 in the supermarket and stock up on ginger nuts of the little bumble bee struggling in the heat. I love that. 😘

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  6. I’m seeing this over half a year since written and while it’s both me and not me (who said “I contain multitudes”?), but it still resonates. Never been drunk, stones or high but a major sugar issue, also I’d admit to too much interwebs, telly and moving pictures. Can’t say I’m lazy given how much I bike, walk and yoga. I blame my tired thyroid, brain and related issues. Anyway, your post was as usual as far as I can tell, very you, and you just seem well, quite human. Imagine my chagrin to learn you’re married! But across the pond too, so even more if a challenge. (No offense to hubbie. Unavailable is very attractive for some reason.) Anyway, be easy with yourself!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s just made me laugh! Thank you! Yes, I am human, perhaps too much so, in terms of being a slightly fluffy blonde dizzy thing; but I guess what I do have is empathy and I hate to see people suffering. I love that you read my drivel and ramblings, and for that I thank you. Katie 😊


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