Controlling desires is crucial for success in life. When you control your desires habitually instead of acting on them, you strengthen your character, emotional intelligence, and attitudes, hence paving way for success in all areas of life.
On the other hand, uncontrolled passions lead to failure, cruelty and evil behaviour disregarding consequences.
Desires and passions, in general, are not bad. They are natural and they motivate us to live better lives.
However, some desires left uncontrolled can cause more ruin than benefits, especially bodily desires.
People who don’t control their desires often end up in criminal or mental institutions when caught. If you let your desires go uncontrolled and untempered, it can cause problems in your life.
The following 4o quotations (by fellow imperfect human beings) are about controlling desires, self-control, controlled passions, and fleshly desires.
After these 4o quotes, you will find 8 additional quotations from Biblical verses about controlling desires.
Disclaimer: This collection is from online research and the authorship of the quotes may or may not be verified, apart from the scriptural quotations. Just enjoy the message.
40 Controlling Desires Quotes
1. “The evil in our desires typically does not lie in what we want, but that we want it too much.”—John Calvin
2. “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”—Epicurus
3. “Control thy passions lest they take vengence on thee.”—Epictetus
4. “It is with our passions as it is with fire and water, they are good servants, but bad masters.”—Aesop
5. “Heaven has given to every human being the power of controlling his passions, and if he neglects or loses it, the fault is his own, and he must be answerable for it.”—John Quincy Adams
6.”Anyone who seeks to destroy the passions instead of controlling them is trying to play the angel.”—Voltaire
7. “Nevertheless the passions, whether violent or not, should never be so expressed as to reach the point of causing disgust; and music, even in situations of the greatest horror, should never be painful to the ear but should flatter and charm it, and thereby always remain music.”—Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
8. “Perfection of moral virtue does not wholly take away the passions, but regulates them.”—Thomas Aquinas
9. “My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.”—Jack Kerouac
10. “We must not let our passions destroy our dreams.”—Thomas S. Monson
11. “I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve. I’ve had my share of mood swings, believe me. But it’s a powerful thing when you realize that you have dominion over your behavior and your passions.”—Matt Dillon
12. “Men are subject to powerful passions and appetites, and, if unrestrained, are capable of ruthlessly riding roughshod over their neighbors and the community at large.”—William Barr
13. “Self-control is the ability to control the expression of our passions and emotions.”—Anonymous
14. “It’s not that you should never love something so much that it can control you. It’s that you need to love something that much so you can never be controlled. It’s not a weakness. It’s your best strength.”
15. “Not to have control over the senses is like sailing in a rudderless ship, bound to break to pieces on coming in contact with the very first rock.”—Mahatma Gandhi
16. “Self-control is a key factor in achieving success. We can’t control everything in life, but we can definitely control ourselves.”—Jan McKingley Hilado
17. “He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.”—Lao Tzu
18. “We should set our goals; then learn to control our appetites. Otherwise, we will lose ourselves in the confusion of the world.”
—Hark Herald Sarmiento
19. “Self-Control is being able to stop your fleshy desires.”
20. “The wise treat horniness like a hiccup; the foolish, like an asthma attack.”—Mokokoma Mokhonoana
21. “A woman may walk around naked in front of a man, but a civilized man would never jump over her, driven by his primordial state of arousal, regardless of an involuntary erection. Erection is involuntary, but whether a man would act on it, is voluntary.”—Abhijit Naskar
22. “There’s an old Talmudic belief that you build a fence around an impulse. If that’s not good enough, you build a fence around the fence.”—Norman Mailer
23. “Don’t be blurred by impulse, to avoid regrets, refrain from doing things that will make you regret.”—Michael Bassey Johnson
24. “You need to know it’s your actions that will make you a good person, not desire.”—Matthew Quick
25. “Desire is the kind of thing that eats you and leaves you starving.”
26. “Faith is not Desire. Faith is Will. Desires are things that need to be satisfied, whereas Will is a force. Will changes the space around us…”—Paulo Coelho
27. “Why is discipline important? Discipline teaches us to operate by principle rather than desire. Saying no to our impulses (even the ones that are not inherently sinful) puts us in control of our appetites rather than vice versa. It deposes our lust and permits truth, virtue, and integrity to rule our minds instead.”—John MacArthur Jr.
28. “If you suffer and make your loved ones suffer, there is nothing that can justify your desire.”—Thich Nhat Hanh
29. “Chris: I don’t know why it is, but every time I reach out for something I want, I have to pull back because other people will suffer.”—Arthur Miller
30. “That single thought is enough. The impulse increases to a wish, the wish to a desire, the desire to an uncontrollable longing, and the longing (to the deep regret and mortification of the speaker, and in defiance of all consequences,) is indulged.”—Edgar Allan Poe
31. “Desires to which we cling closely can easily prevent us from being what we ought to be and can be; and on the other hand, desires repeatedly mastered for the sake of present duty make us richer. Lack of desire is poverty.”—Dietrich Bonhoeffer
32. “Essential to life, is desiring the things that you need, than needing the things you desire.”—Anthony Liccione
33. “Wealth is not an absolute. It is relative to desire. Every time we yearn for something we cannot afford, we grow poorer, whatever our resources. And every time we feel satisfied with what we have, we can be counted as rich, however little we may actually possess.”—Alain de Botton
34. “The most difficult thing to do is to control your desires – you should ask yourself what you ought to desire.”—Dr T.P.Chia
35. “The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you don’t, life controls you.”—Anthony Robbins
36. “I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.”—Aristotle
37. “He who reigns within himself, and rules passions, desires, and fears, is more than a king.”—John Milton
38. “Human nature is complex. Even if we do have inclinations toward violence, we also have inclination to empathy, to cooperation, to self-control.”—Steven Pinker
39. “Self-control is one mark of a mature person; it applies to control of language, physical treatment of others, and the appetites of the body.”—Joseph B. Wirthlin
40. “To control your desires, you need to be strong in resisting temptations mentally and sensuously.”—Dr T.P.Chia
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8 Bible Verses on Controlling Desires
These scriptures have been sourced from various versions of the Bible.
- “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16
- “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5
- “You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.” James 4:2
- ” ‘You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, and you shall not desire your neighbour’s house, his field or his male servant or his female servant, his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbour.’ “Deuteronomy 5:21
- “For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.” 1 Peter 4:3
- “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:9-10
- “Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” 2 Timothy 2:22
- “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.” James 1:14
Life is for living. Keep living. Don’t give up.