One of the most common problems I see in my practice as a therapist is the problem of lack of self discipline. Without the ability to discipline yourself your can be assigned to a life of procrastination, unfinished business, financial, emotional, and relationship failure. You can learn to discipline yourself if you are willing to effort. And it is really worth the effort. Here are some thoughts on self discipline.
The construction or the putting together of anything of value requires basic elements, all of which must be strong and true for successful completion. In building a home not only must the site be buildable and the foundation have integrity, so must the framing, the roofing, the electrical, the plumbing, and all of the other basic ingredients of a sturdy home. If even one of the building elements has been compromised, it is possible for the project to fail and necessitate much time and energy in repair and reconstruction. The same is true for human beings. We cannot expect to have any happiness unless we build each aspect of our lives with integrity. No one can build anything of lasting value and happiness without the following ingredient: discipline. Certainly there are other aspects to happiness we cannot do without, but all of these fall by the wayside without discipline. Discipline is the backbone of manifestation on the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual planes. Develop discipline practiced with wisdom, love, and right action.
As children we are often exposed to discipline of an unhealthy nature–too much emphasis on that which is not important and too little on that which is, or an unbalanced view of discipline. For example, the child who is modeled to earn at the cost of compassion for others is given an unbalanced view of discipline. Children often see the inequity and lack of wisdom in such behavior and may react by denying their own development of discipline. Another example of this is the child who is disciplined unfairly with unkind words and swats. He may inwardly decide that he will not learn to discipline himself so as to express his unhappiness with his parents. On the flip side, children who have been treated with great indulgence will get the message that the world owes them an easy road and resents those who would ask them to be responsible and constantly let themselves down. Such children grow to be very unhappy adults. All of us have been damaged in our childhood regarding discipline in some way by over discipline, under discipline, unbalanced discipline, or the wrong kind of discipline. It is up to us to identify the problem within ourselves and correct it.
Learning correct discipline can literally set us free. Think of something of value that you have completed in your life. That it was completed, how well it was completed, and how long it took to complete were all determined by your own self-discipline. Remember how good you felt when you were done. That feeling of satisfaction justified all your effort and sacrifice. A person disciplined with wisdom is a person who feels free. How do you develop discipline? First, look back and identify what you experienced of discipline in your childhood and what inner decisions you made about yourself and discipline. Notice the patterns that developed from these decisions and how these patterns are in action today. Make some new decisions now based on your adult perspective of wise and loving self-discipline. Put these new decisions or behavior changes into action in your life.
Here are some behavior changes you may decide to put into action: (1) Learn delayed gratification. This is an important part of mature adult behavior. People who cannot delay their gratification do not have a clear and committed vision of what will make them happy. They are willing to have lesser satisfaction, even compromise their integrity in order to have what seems to be within easy reach. Some would rather hate than wait and create love. Some would rather pay the price of their very health than eat what is nutritious or exercise. Learn to wait for what you really want. If you don’t you will be unsatisfied and unconsciously attempt to fill the need again and again. Unhappiness reigns as a result. (2) Evaluate priorities and create a vision for your own personal goals. Keep your inner eye constantly on your vision and do not compromise for anything less. (3) Look at the company you keep. Notice what is being reinforced by your people environment. Take action and develop some new friends that model wise and loving self-discipline. (4) Gut it out. Just do it. Accept that this is effort. Love yourself.
I am Wendy Hill, Ph.D. and I have been in practice as a therapist in Encinitas, California for many years. Please connect with me and check out my website, wendyhill.com. Psychotherapy with hypnotherapy is better than therapy. Check it out.