Self-discipline – helpful or hindrance?

When I was an undergrad, getting my BS in Biology, there was a lot to do.

I was also working 3-4 (sometimes 5) nights a week.

I didn’t always have the discipline to study and do all the things I need to do.

I would often feel bad about myself and the whole journey, thinking I had to be more disciplined.

I even hung a sign above one of our doors so I could see it every day when I was leaving the house.

It looked something like this:






The more I read that sign, the worse I felt.

I did get through and get my Bachelors in Science and go on to get my Masters in Acupuncture.

So I did ok.

Discipline or not.

Either way, I had what it took to get through.

But, because I must enjoy suffering, I beat myself up the whole time for not being good enough, not doing enough, blah blah blah.

I was on a bike ride this morning thinking about discipline.

It has been 12 years since I graduated from college. Nine years since acupuncture school graduation.

In my personal life, in my personal growth life, my spiritual life, I have continually tried to be more ‘disciplined.’

Then I stopped.

So this morning when I was pondering discipline, I thought of expansiveness.

I thought of how it feels to be free.

I like that feeling.

I can’t even wear a turtleneck, I hate the feeling of being trapped in that damn sweater trying to choke me!! LOL. But I am totally serious. I @#% hate turltenecks.

I decided not to continue with an acupuncture practice because I wanted to have more freedom in my career. Not be stuck in one room, one office, one routine.

It did not feel expansive being ‘stuck’ doing one thing.

I have tried to wake up every day and have a morning routine. Be disciplined enough to do that. It felt great. I was disciplined!

But it did not feel freeing or expansive.

So, because I had no idea what else to do, I gave up.

Gave up on trying.

Gave up on discipline.

So I ask, do we all NEED discipline?

Do we need to BE disciplined in our lives?

I believe from the bottom of my heart that discipline is the answer for many. It can work. The shift from not doing anything to doing something on a more strict, regular basis can work. It can get you out of a funk. Sometimes you just have to do something different . I have read enough Tony Robbins (I love that guy!) to know how successful discipline can be.

But maybe not for me.

Maybe not for you.

What feels expansive? What feels good?

Those were important things for me to think about, to tap into once I gave up.

And I gave up mostly because what I was doing WAS NOT WORKING.

All the trying, the pushing, the attempts at discipline.

It was not working.

I believe now that it didn’t work for me because what I was always doing was trying to get away from myself. Trying to push against who I was. Thinking I could discipline and self-help my way AWAY from the shit bag that I have always thought I was.

Um, no wonder it didn’t work!

So if it feels more expansive to just let it all go, I say DO IT!

Once I let go of the idea that I HAD to do all these sorts of things, that I had to push and try and be more disciplined to be BETTER, things began to unfold.

My life began to unfold.

I naturally began to take better care of myself. Feeling better felt great.

My expansiveness is sometimes messy and goofy.

I am a goofy hot mess sometimes. A lovable one, of course. 🙂

I always thought I could discipline myself OUT of that part of me.

But digging into all that messiness has really been the key for me.

Sometimes giving up, letting go, and getting messy is the answer.

What do you think?

Tell me in the comments below


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