Making choices. I don't eat cookies. But yesterday I was hungry and and had one. Mmm. Then another. If one didn't kill me, another should be ok. Right?
And next to the cookie was a piece of chocolate cake. It was a small piece. Why not, I asked myself?
Then I went home, feeling like I had to confess to my wife how I had strayed from my path. She’s heard me before. Being from a Republican family, she gave me that pull yourself up by your bootstraps look.
Recently I've become more aware of the multiple voices within me and how each decision seems to come from a jury. The hungry part of me presents his case, “I'm hungry and these cookies in front of me are there for the taking.” Then my rules part says, ‘But cookies aren't on the list.” My lenient part chirps in that just today my rules part shouldn't listen to that Scrooge.
And one thing leads to another. Over and over again. Two cookies and half a piece of chocolate cake! Glad there is nothing stronger around!
A researcher in St Louis works with pigeons who will delay gratification for a bigger award. Some recent experiments with kids found that those who could delay gratification would go further in their careers. I wonder how delaying can be learned? Is it too late for me? I wonder, too, if there are emotional and physical ills that come from the denial of gratification?
Freud described the ego as that which negotiates between our parents, the super ego, and our instinctual desires, our id. How we manage to walk steadily between these two voices separates the men from the boys, or is it the cookiers from the non-cookiers?