“I believe that Self-Discipline is the definition of Self-Love.” -Will Smith
At first glance you might think love and discipline are opposing forces, but think about all the reasons you might discipline your child. Discipline helps a child learn, keeps them safe, brings structure and stability, teaches impulse control, promotes self-regulation and helps them develop problem solving skills. We discipline our children because we love them, nurture them and help equip them to navigate the world happily and confidently as they grow up.
I used to look at discipline as punishment, and when I was told I needed to be more disciplined I took it as I have to take on all this work I didn’t feel like doing and what’s the reward in that?
The undisciplined are slaves to moods, appetites and passions. -Stephen Covey
I was very transfixed on momentary happiness, as I feel many people are. I let whatever was happening externally take me for a ride. If I was tired, I’d drink more caffeine, if I was stressed I would eat, if I was depressed I would buy something pretty. Being a slave to my emotions, I would chase fleeting happiness only to have it followed up by inevitable unhappiness. It was a cycle and a trap and I didn’t even realize it was happening.
Through discipline comes freedom - Aristotle
Then I fell into my yoga and mindfulness practice. It changed everything, it broke the cycle. I strengthened my will power by showing up for myself, which I feel is essential for self-love. By proving to myself that I could be there for me, I was able to trust myself more. I started overcoming the temptation from immediate pleasures in exchange for what I truly wanted. I became more self-sufficient in my emotional needs which translated to healthier and more fulfilling relationships. I started making healthier choices in all aspects of my life because I developed an inner strength that didn’t come from self-punishment, but came from truly caring about and loving myself. I believed I was worth it, and invested in myself.
The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine - Unknown
A lot of us are disciplined when it comes to showing up for others. I remember early morning hockey practices, dropping everything at a moment’s notice for my job as a firefighter or teaching my 6am yoga classes knowing my students were waiting. So why then do we hit the snooze button when it comes to ourselves?
I feel it has to do with “getting” something out of it. Whether its money, or praise, or avoiding guilt or disappointing others (approval) there is some reward attached to our behaviours. When we don’t show up for ourselves, the only person we are disappointing is us, and somehow we are more accepting of that.
We aren’t born with self-discipline—it’s a learned behaviour. Just like any other skill you want to master, it requires daily practice and repetition. It takes time and we must be patient with ourselves.
When I began my meditation journey it started as effort, I would practice diligently for a few weeks, then fall off the wagon, but I persevered and kept coming back to my mat. It took me years of working on my body so I could finally sit for meditation. It was the worst at the beginning, my legs would fall asleep and go numb, my mind would tell me I had better things to do than just sit here and thoughts would be flooding in incessantly. Sometimes I think I left my mat crankier then when I started, but I must say the act of just sitting everyday regardless has strengthened my will power and my dedication to show up for myself. It’s become such an ingrained habit, I now just do it, just as I would brush my teeth every day. Patience combined with diligence is everything.
Visualize your highest self and start showing up as her- unknown
Never doubt your own will power. You are capable of achieving anything. According to a study by Stanford University, the amount of willpower a person has is determined by their beliefs. Believe in yourself, do whatever it takes to motivate yourself, and when you can’t find the motivation just do it anyway. One of my affirmations I used was “JFDI” (just F*cking Do It!). You will never always be motivated. Discipline is doing it no matter what your emotional state is.
You deserve to live the life of your dreams and you have everything you need in order to get there. Self-discipline is loving yourself enough to give yourself everything you’ve ever wanted.
Have you experienced self-love through self-discipline? Share your story with me in the comments below!