The simple strategies:
- Keep away from the temptation, or keep your attention elsewhere.
- Refuse to play with the temptation in your mind; this is an act of will.
- If you have given the temptation ground to develop in your mind, pray 'mantra' style, using a sentence of Scripture. Stay with the 'mantra', and pray that God will show you a way through.
2. Treat the temptation as a symptom, but of what? Find out the cause and deal with it, and the temptation will, over time, diminish in intensity. (Use strategies from 1 above while addressing the root cause.)
3. Ask these questions: Who are you? If you follow the voice of this temptation, who do you become? Do you want to be this person? If your answer is 'No', remember this, for it will strengthen your will.
4. Temptations often appear as a way of escaping an unhappy situation. Or perhaps you feel a fake, or perhaps there is an inconsistency between who you are and an aspect of your current life. If so, then act, but following the temptation is rarely the way. There are usually more reasonable and mature ways of dealing with the problem, and these solutions will usually have less negative consequences than will result from following the temptation.
And to finish, a quote for reflection from Ron Rolheiser (about the great benefit in hanging in there):
Almost everything within our culture invites us to avoid tension and to resolve it whenever possible, even at the cost of some more noble instincts. This is true for virtually every aspect of contemporary life, save those areas where we can be fiercely ascetical and sweat blood for purposes of our careers or the health and slimness of our bodies. Waiting in frustration and inconsummation is not our strong point. From minor frustrations, like waiting in a queue at the bank or the bus stop, to more major frustrations with interpersonal tensions and our unresolved sexual needs, we find it difficult to stay inside of unresolved tension. Jacques Maritain once stated that one of the great spiritual tragedies is that so many people of good will would become persons of noble soul if only they would not panic and resolve the painful tensions within their lives too prematurely, but rather stay with them long enough, as one does in a dark night of the soul, until those tensions are transformed and help give birth to what is most noble inside of us – compassion, forgiveness and love. (Ronald Rolheiser)