"I Believe Self Discipline Is The Definition Of Self Love. That means that when you love yourself, you have behavior towards yourself that is loving; foregoing immediate pleasure for long term self-respect."
~ Will Smith
Have you checked out that video on YouTube where Will Smith equates self discipline with self love?
If not, check it out below.
Self discipline was always that ugly thing my father used to try to hammer into my head, about blood, sweat, tears and hard work.
All I saw were two overly serious parents who, in my mind anyway, thought fun was an absolutely useless activity.
Self discipline quickly became an incredibly unattractive trait to me.
It made me think of people waking up at 5 am to do push ups in the rain while drill sergeants scream at them...
Why in the world would I ever want something so terrible to be a part of my life?
I can honestly admit that it is only dawned on me in my 30's how incredibly important self discipline is...
But I never equated it to self love until I listened to how Will Smith explained it.
What exactly do I mean by self discipline anyway?
Hubspot defines it simply as "the ability to do what you should be doing."
We hate doing things we don't feel like doing, even though we know that thing is going to be incredibly meaningful in our lives.
I am convinced that most of us who hate self discipline don't like ourselves very much.
How else can you explain why you deem it okay to be chronically unhappy in a situation you loathe but still choose to remain in for years, even decades?
Ceaseless comfort is the cousin of self loathing.
Let's use a simple example here:
Which one are you going to feel good about at the end of your day?
Getting up at 11 am on a Saturday morning to watch 12 episodes of your favorite show on Netflix?
... getting up at 8 am (yes, still on Saturday)
... sitting in front of your laptop to write a chapter of your first book (and struggling through it because you're sleepy and lethargic (and it's the Saturday!) and actually getting that chapter done.
The latter will obviously make you feel better.
Yes it will be difficult but you will feel like you've done something major towards something that means the world to you.
Even though you did not like the process of being uncomfortable, even though initially it felt like punishment, the feeling of completing a task you knew had to get done?
To me, immediate gratification is like unprotected sex with someone you met at the club and took home with you: temporary pleasure that leads to instant remorse that comes with nasty symptoms!
The symptoms I'm referring to are:
... your negative self talk may get significantly worse
... developing self loathing and judging yourself incredibly harshly
... and naturally this becomes a complete de-motivator, so you will most likely end up going right back to seeking immediate gratification.
The tragic, destructive cycle continues.
What are the benefits of self discipline?
Here are a few reasons why self discipline and self love are truly synonymous
1. You are honest with yourself... sometimes brutally if necessary.
2. You make sacrifices you know will benefit you in the long run.
3. You actually set boundaries on what you allow yourself to do and not do and follow through on them
4. You have rituals that strengthen you on a daily basis
5. You not only welcome constructive criticism, you actually apply it in your life.
6. You surround yourself with people who not only have your best interests at heart but who will challenge you to do and be better than yesterday.
All of these points have a strong element of self discipline in there, not just self love.
By writing this, I am not implying in any way that these are the ultimate standards of self discipline and self love.
Not at all.
This is honestly my understanding of it as told by the awesome and fantastic Will Smith. 🙂
How do you develop self discipline?
I could tell you to wake up earlier and drink more water, but honestly you have to truly honor and respect this character trait.
Recognize the role it can play to completely change your life.
It also doesn't hurt to have a definite goal you want to attain.
Understanding innately that cultivating true self discipline will be more beneficial for you in the long run, and choosing to make sacrifices now for the benefit of who you will become in the future, is the most significant gift you will ever give yourself.
If you have children, please try to teach this crucial concept to them as early in their lives as possible!
My hope is that you practise the art of self discipline and continue to do so for the rest of your life. It really is the deepest form of love you can ever give yourself.