The Connection between Confidence and Impulse Control


One of the (many) reasons we love psychotherapist Barry Michels is that he has a tool for everything. It has tools to regulate your thoughts, preparing to be activated, and transforming your emotional wounds. All his tools – which you can read about The Tools and Coming Alive-Help you deal with what he and co-author Phil Stutz call it Part X, the inner voice that makes us believe that we are not worthy of happiness or fulfillment.

In his new video series, Diving Soul, Michels explains ways to reshape everyday emotional challenges in minutes. In this week’s video (above), he talks about the connection between trust and willpower and how keeping your commitments to yourself can change your relationship to both.

Below, I share the steps to use the Sun Black tool, which is a visualization exercise that can help anyone exercise self-control.


Cues for using the Sun Black Tool

Most of the time we don’t indulge our impulses; we are waiting for the moment we will give. Use this tool the moment Part X floods you with any kind of self-defense emergency – to check your email, lose your cool, and so on. Used repeatedly, this tool will force you to stop giving in to these impulses and turn inward instead.

The Tool in Brief Steps

  1. Deprivation: Feel the deprivation of not having what you want, as intense as possible. So let go of what you want. Forget the outside world as a source of everything that will fill you inside; let it disappear.

  2. Void: Look at yourself. What was once a feeling of deprivation is now an endless void. Face it. Stay calm and steady.

  3. Fullness: From the depths of the void, imagine a Black Sun rising, expanding until it becomes one with its warm, unlimited energy.

  4. Give: Redirect your attention to the outside world. The energy of the Black Sun will flow, coming out of you. When he enters the world, he becomes a pure white light of infinite gift.

Replenishment of Your Life Force

When Part X tries to give in to your impulses, what it tries to do is steal your Life Force. Self-restraint doesn’t just preserve your Life Force; to increase. When you hold a pulse back, the lower, greedy energy turns into a higher energy, giving, increasing your Life Force.


Barry Michels has a BA from Harvard; a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley; and an MSW from the University of Southern California. She has been in private practice as a psychotherapist since 1986. Along with Phil Stutz, she is the author of The Tools and Coming Alive.


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