Now THIS is a topic.
Actually, it’s a skill. It’s quite a skill.
If the well-intentioned human can wrap its brain around awareness and understanding of what it means to inhibit, then well-intentioned humans are going to make huge growth for the good in sustainable outcomes – first in one’s own life experience, and then (by association) in others we influence (which could arguably be anyone we are in contact with…so…everyone?) — that’s a lot of influence.
Growing up, I was the kid that never understood the jokes. The jokes were the ones that cool kids understood effortlessly. When it came to the jokes, and many other things pertinent to feeling cool – lasting cool, not momentary cool (the cool that wasn’t going to be stripped away just as quickly as it was assumed to have been achieved), I was lagging.
To say I was a naive child, tween, adolescent, twenty-something, thirty-something – perhaps there could be an argument to be had for forty-something, is a gross understatement at best.
I was coded with extra. Intensities is what some authors/researchers who reference or study behaviors refer to as the extra, the too much. Placement can land on either end of the bell curve here.
I felt things. If I thought something was funny I didn’t just laugh. I laughed hard and LOUD. As far as I can telI, I didn’t mean to. I didn’t do so ‘on purpose’. Especially when it became embarrassing. Why would I intentionally create an undesirable outcome for myself at any age, but especially a young age when the perception of social ranking and ‘fitting in’ was so important to me.
At times, the too much may have included subtleties of an inclination to get someone’s attention, most likely the attention of the poor guy I was not just crushing on – but overcrushing (ie. see intensities of behavior).
When I take myself back to the experience, best I can, and honestly assess preexisitng intentions to undesirable behavior choices that led to undesirable social outcomes for myself, it feels like I did not make a conscious choice using evidence of cause and effect that I preplayed in my brain to act in a particular way. I would say that I was lagging in my ability to inhibit my actions, better said: in some areas of my life I lagged in my ability to control or resist my urges and impulses.
A common way to understand the executive skill, to inhibit, is to refer to it as impulse control.
I’ll take a chance here and assume, whether you’re comfortable admitting to it or not, there is an area of your life that has, or is at times, sabotaged by a lagging ability to inhibit a particular action or inaction.
(It’s too easy to interject the low hanging fruit: Do you think children have this anywhere NEAR figured out? Why punish, berate, or label as a disorder something in a young person that the older person is still trying to figure out.)
A healthy use of this executive skill is to first be the noticer of your own urges and impulses. The naming of urges and impulses can create a sense of space between who YOU are (the noticer) and how you are responding to a situation, circumstance, or event (the ‘cause’, the ‘stimulus’,etc.)
No one is a master here. I don’t think there is such a thing as mastery of any executive skillset. The more one is aware of the skillsets, the more one can use executive skills (inner resources) in a way that supports one’s sense of autonomy in making choices that align with one’s wellbeing and a satisfying experience of day.
So much more to say about this skill. To inhibit. Why inhibit an action or inaction? The story one tells about the why has a lot to do with a belief system. Is the why rooted in fear, or possibility?
What feels better?
A true sense of possibility is lasting. Sustainable.