Thanks largely to Freud most of us believe that self-control is a form of repression. Nowadays, people call it self-denial.
Freud’s view was not science and it wasn't true, but it’s a nice image: you bottle up your feelings until one day, like compressed gas, they explode.
Of course, Freud also believed in delayed gratification. His view was Stoic, even ascetic. At best, he was suggesting that if you renounce immediate gratification you will achieve satisfaction—i.e., an eternal reward-- at some point in the future.
Freud was rejecting the idea that self-control could be satisfying in and of itself. He saw it as a necessary evil, not as a positive achievement, to be encouraged.
According to a study performed by University of Chicago researcher Wilhelm Hofmann, individuals who exercised more self-control were happier in the short term as well as in the long term. Specifically, he asked people whether they had or had not acted on their desires.
The Atlantic summarized the results:
The more self-control people reported having, the more satisfied they reported being with their lives. And contrary to what the researchers were expecting, people with more self-control were also more likely to be happy in the short-term. In fact, when they further analyzed the data, they found that such people's increased happiness to a large extent accounted for the increased life satisfaction.
As they go about their daily lives, people with a lot of self-control appear to generally be in higher spirits; in the long run, they're happier with their lives. To explain why this would be so, the researchers conducted another online survey. What they figured out is that instead of constantly denying themselves, people high in self-control are simply less likely to find themselves in situations where that's even an issue. They don't waste time fighting inner battles over whether or not to eat a second piece of cake. They're above such petty temptations. And that, it would seem, makes them happier ... if still just a little bit sad.
Of course, it all depends on how you define happiness. If you see it, as Freud did, modeled on the most extreme form of instinctual gratification, you will continue to disparage self-control.
More interesting here is the note on temptation. Apparently, once you have learned the habit of self-control—by practicing it, of course—you will find yourself less susceptible to temptation. You will find that you will not feel as tempted to eat or drink or do anything else in excess. And you will be so contented with your life that you will no longer believe that extreme gratification will bring happiness.