Harnessing Your Wild Side
- Friday, September 24, 2004
The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions. – Alfred, Lord Tennyson
The motion picture Unfaithful, starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane, features a typical, young American family whose relationships are shattered by uncontrolled anger and unrestrained sexual urges.
The main characters, Connie and Edward Sumner, appear happy together after 11 years of marriage. They are deeply in love and totally committed to their eight-year-old son. But Connie gets caught up in a torrid affair with a handsome stranger, even though she fights hard to resist her relentless desires.
At one point Connie tells her lover, “I think this was a mistake.”
“There is no such thing as a mistake,” he responds. “There are things you do and don’t do.”
Despite that equivocation, Connie discovers that actions do indeed have consequences. Her recklessness sets in motion a frightening and horrible set of events. Discovering his wife’s indiscretions, Edward is stunned and enraged. Like his wife, he tries to tame his destructive impulses, to no avail. The result is total devastation for every person involved. It’s a sad, torturous, awful story about unbridled sex and anger.
Painful as this film is to watch, it points to a universal truth about human beings: Every living, breathing person on earth has impulses that, if poorly managed, create chaos in their lives. But there is good news to go along with the bad – if these same impulses are managed wisely, they produce magnificent personal gains.
The goal of this series of articles is to help you take your strongest, wildest impulses and use them for dramatic growth – growth that can exponentially increase and expand the boundaries of emotional and mental health in your life.
Learning to be in command of your strongest, wildest impulses is vitally important. Although you may be experiencing other wild horses in your life – such as a constant craving for food even though the scales indicated that you need to put on the brakes, or a much-too-often inner push to buy more things even though your finances are yelling out for an easing up in your spending, or a daily need to work more hours and expend more energy in the pursuit of your career goals even though your spouse and your family are crying out for more of your time and attention – most psychological theorists agree that the two most powerful emotions we have are our anger and sex drives. That’s why we’ve dedicated this article to talking solely about these two “wild horses.”
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