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The topic of discipline came up in a recent conversation I was having and it made me want to explore the concept a bit deeper. Living in our current society the idea of discipline might have mixed connotations. There can be this “all or nothing” mentality conflicting with the new desire for “balance” in our lives.

It seems we as humans see discipline as something we internally battle on our own. In my own past experience I remember watching disciplined people and thinking “they are different than me”, or “I can’t do what they are doing”. Now looking back I see that was a deflection to my own self-justification. Deflecting allowed me to run away from the possibility of commitment to discipline and thus be controlled by the fear of failure.

When I began my recovery journey, discipline became an integral part of my growth and momentum. Once my personal commitments aligned with my actions I began to see, feel and think differently. This is where my self-respect, self-love and self-dignity was rooted. Spending much of my life thinking and saying things, making promises, adding commitments and then not following through on them was a repetitive act of self-betrayal, although I was unaware at the time.

I became an expert on self-justification and excuses for my lack of discipline. And truly, I believed every excuse I narrated in my mind. As I continued trudging along, I began to slowly crumble the mental constructs and narratives that were oh so deeply carved into my mind. The “I can’ts”, “That is too hard”, “I don’t need to do that”, or “I’m tired, maybe tomorrow”. Those deeply engraved narratives began to have less control and power. Then came faith, faith in myself. And a desire to continue pushing through those false narratives and feel self-mastery piece by piece.

But before this culture of external validation through discipline - the kind that we see on social media that is displayed for the world to see… There were wise leaders, spiritual beings and philosophers that shared their view on discipline. Listening to the wisdom each individual shares, it makes me wonder if discipline truly is the key to freedom.

· “He who cannot obey himself will be commanded. That is the nature of living creatures.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

· “Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.” – Lao Tzu

· “It is better to conquer self than to win a thousand battles.” – Buddha

· “What lies in our power to do, lies in our power not to do.” – Aristotle

With Love,

The Way

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