The Psychology of Temptation
Life Style

The Psychology of Temptation


Temptation is the term used by people so often to express the feeling of craving, when they want to do something or have something specific for themselves, even when they know they should avoid having or wanting it as it is the best option for them. We’ve heard people saying “This desert looks so tempting” or “Don’t tempt me with such delicious food, I am on a strict diet.”

Desires are what makes a person tempt for something or someone and resisting it specifically only makes a person tempt more for it. Many times people gets tempted or more drawn towards wrong, misleading or irrational desires which sometimes leads to their downfall and can cause problems in life.

In informal terms, temptations can be described as the state of getting attracted or feel attached to, without even having any moral or ethical value of it’s own. It’s much easier to have some sort of self control when the temptations are weaker and milder than when it’s stronger and harder to resist. Also, according to the research, temptations which are easily available or are in sight of an individual are somewhat less valuable or tempting and people give less attention to it as it’s easily accessible.

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Understanding temptations better

Temptations are based on one’s choices and are a matter of interest:

What one person finds tempting isn’t necessarily tempting for the other person as everyone has got their own likings and interests. Everyone make different choices and have their own likes and dislikes. For some, a new model of car launched in market is tempting and for others it could be trying out new places to eat or travel. So in that case, temptations are relative.

Temptations can cause conflicts within different thoughts and values:

One may value qualities like honesty, kindness, trust, success and still use clever tactics and lie in workplace to achieve higher positions and reduce workload. Same way, people who believes in long term relationships and trust, easily gets tempted towards dishonesty and betrayal and ends their relationship easily.

Temptations can’t be predicted beforehand:

There’s no warning or sign of precautions that makes an individual gets aware of the temptations they are going to face in future. It gives no time to be prepared or establish a particular mind set. Temptations for a thing or a person just strikes at the moment and gives no time to reconsider the choices that one is going to make at a sudden opportunity, which sometimes leads to making wrong decisions or consider bad choices.

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What makes a person get tempted for something or someone?

People could get tempted by the things they are most interested in or are excited about, like some people gets tempted by food, others by books, clothes, cars, luxurious brands. People also finds shopping, traveling, posting or venting on social media, gossiping, cheating, stealing, lying, watching pornography, having sex, drinking alcohol or consuming drugs tempting.

Temptations occur in gut of an individual rather than their brain, arousing the feelings of both luring and repelling from the temptations. Sometimes it’s the curiosity for something new and interesting that makes a person tempt for it and long for it, other times it’s the psychological manipulation and the fear of loosing something important and loving that makes an individual gets tempted for it so much. Achieving or acquiring the things of temptations satisfy an individual’s ego and gives them pleasure, even if it’s short term pleasure and spikes their dopamine level.

Temptations for power, fame and money by political leaders in politics makes them gets involved in corruption and unethical behaviours. Similarly, narcissists gets temptations for power and entitlement. Extroverts gets tempted for parties and social events, they can’t be alone and needs someone to be there to hear them talk. On the other hand, Introverts craves for their alone time. They gets easily tempted by quiet places and things which gives them comfort.

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Why is it hard to resist temptations, even the basic ones?

Temptations could even make a good person do bad things. Sometimes resisting temptations are as basic as entering a roadside bakery after watching the chocolate cake placed in bakery’s glass counter and then walking out without buying or eating it and sometimes it could be taking out cash from the pocket and buying that cake thinking ‘we only live once and I’ve worked hard enough to reward myself with this chocolaty piece of tempting cake’, just to feel that guilt of adding extra calories of the day later.

Temptations are like an evil trap carefully designed to trap the individual who fails to resist the strong temptations of nature. The fact that the individual still feels like they have some self control over themselves since the very beginning while they are becoming trapped, is a scam/ trap itself. They keep believing that they are under control of themselves until they no longer are.

Temptations can be compared to the concept of gravity for better visualisation and a clear understanding. Just like the gravity pulls an object down on the ground which is thrown upwards with powerful force, likewise an object of temptations pulls an individual towards itself through that growing sudden urge to have or want it. This urge varies with respect to the distance. For example, a person is watching something tempting on television screen, they won’t feel much tempted as when the same object is present in front of them.

Three regions of temptations as a result of above comparison

There are mainly three regions emerging around temptations of almost all kinds. These are:

  1. The akratic zone: Akratic zone is the zone where will power of an individual fails to save them from their temptations alone.
  2. The danger zone: Danger zone is the second type of zone in which after staying for too long, the will power of an individual just fades away or gets reduced.
  3. The safe zone: The last type of zone is the safe zone. As the name suggests, here the will power stays intact and is stable enough to resist any temptations for a long time.

In majority of human beings, the akratic zone dominates which makes a person lose confidence and let’s the temptations control them.

Ways to help an individual resist all kinds of temptations

Here are list of ways which could help a person resist temptations irrespective of their frequency and intensity.

Be strong and show resilience:

Even if a person strongly gets tempted towards something, they need to believe that their belief system and values are stronger to resist temptations and make necessary decisions to reach specific goals. People need to feel that self control over themselves and be determined enough to resist temptations, no matter how small or big an urge to do or want something is. One needs to have a firm belief and faith on themselves to overcome any kind of temptations and not let it control them but quite the opposite.

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It’s all a game of person’s mind, so train the mind and brain accordingly and learn to ignore or divert the mind from temptations. When a person doesn’t pay much attention to the particular temptations, the brain takes it as a signal that it’s not that important and soon tries to forget or reduce the temptations.

Long term goals over everything:

Temptations gives a person short term relief and satisfaction, so it’s not worth it to obtain short term desires by keeping long term goals on stake. If an individual wants to get slim and stay fit, they need to avoid having too many cheat meals and should exercise daily persistently.

Distance empowers the resistance:

It’s best to distance oneself when came across temptations or when it feels like being tempted when arriving at a familiar place. Believe in ‘out of sight, out of mind’ rule as it can do wonders and helps a person resist unnecessary temptations.

No blame game:

Temptations are natural and anyone can get tempted of one thing or the other, even when they are Highly disciplined and can distinguish between wants and needs. So instead of blaming oneself, go easy and try to understand the thought process behind it and think of the ideas for how can the temptations be avoided.

Let others know ones beliefs and values:

Temptations are generally forced upon an individual by others as per the desires and interests, so it’s best to make sure that other people, including friends and colleagues, family members or relatives know what ones values and beliefs are or which religion ones follow, before forcing something on that individual or making them tempt for something unnecessarily just for fun.

For example, if someone belongs to a particular community where drinking and smoking is strictly prohibited and others know this thing about the person, they won’t really force or even ask that person to drink or smoke along with them even on social events as they know it would only lead them to cross the boundaries and Indirectly makes them commit a sin by making the person use substances.

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Get surrounded by right people:

It’s so important to get surrounded by right people And be in a good company, people who are understanding and don’t make oneself tempt for bad things and even helps in resisting temptations by the individual through different means, even by using or implementing some hard and strict rules to avoid temptations. These kind of people always wants each other to succeed in life and provide necessary support.


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