Do You Have Enough Self Discipline?

We need self-discipline so that we can retain control of ourselves and our lives - and thereby empower ourselves to make the changes we desire.

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At the event in London for Action For Happiness (21/09/15) I was surprised at how practical and down to earth the words and ideas of HH Dalai Lama were.

I particularly liked the notion he expressed of self-discipline being a path to happiness. Even though the word 'discipline' brought up for me unpleasant memories from my childhood home and school.

Discipline back then was really a word used as a justification for harsh bullying and abuse 'for your own good'. It did me no good. It hardened my soul and made me retreat in cold anger at the oppression and injustice I felt.

Nowadays I like the idea and potential benefits of self-discipline...keeping ourselves aware of ourselves, and keeping ourselves on the chosen track we want and need to be on - so that we can reach our destination. I see it as a form of self-parenting, self-guidance and accessing our higher wisdom.

My purpose is about working with the 'inner child' of my clients and mentees – to help them to heal their emotional wounds, make peace with the past, and become empowered and enabled to become better people, partners, parents and professionals. I can definitely see the place of self-discipline in that transformational process.

We need to be clear about what discipline really means.

One definition is 'a branch of knowledge and training'.

I prefer this definition rather than the alternative one of 'control, and enforcing the obeying of rules or a code of behaviour, using punishment to correct disobedience.'

The difference is all about the purpose intended and whether the aim is to enable someone to grow, or to shrivel into compliance.

True disciples are followers and those willing to learn and grow... and with awareness and choice we too can become a disciple. One who wants to learn and follow the higher values in life beyond mere academic education.

Why do we need self-discipline?

We need self-discipline so that we can retain control of ourselves and our lives - and thereby empower ourselves to make the changes we desire.

Any change we want to make to ourselves begins with awareness of who and where we are now. We need to become clearer about the ways in which we think, feel and behave - and the impact we have upon others. We need to be aware of our starting point on the journey to even greater self-discipline.

Next comes education and learning about what has shaped us so far.

We also need to learn HOW to change and what the steps are that we need to take along the way. Otherwise it all remains merely a mental concept or ideal.

We then need to change our unhelpful habits – and to gather any help and resources we need to do this.

We can then gain self control and the ability to regulate our emotional and physical responses, as well as become more emotionally intelligent.

Self-restraint is also large part of self-discipline. Having more 'adult' thinking and self-control helps to reduce the likelihood of acting out our childish impulses and 'knee-jerk' emotional reactions.

Self-discipline also requires a level of inner resilience, determination, tenacity and persistence – to keep going in spite of set-backs. This makes the path to happiness sound like hard work. That depends upon the point we are starting from and how committed we are to make any changes we need to make in order for the path to feel easier for us to traverse.

Our happier lives, lived with self-discipline, also need a clarity of purpose.

As we mature we tend to ponder upon existential questions such as 'what's it all for... what's the point and purpose of my life... and what makes it feel worthwhile? Our answers will be individual to each of us, and yet probably have collective similarities too.

We also need to show ourselves love and compassion – and allow this to overflow onto other people, however undisciplined they may still be.

Patience and tolerance (link) is another virtuous aspect of self-discipline. Reminding ourselves that everyone is doing what they think is best based upon their own level of understanding and love. We are just happen to be at different milestones along the way.

I have already shared here in Lifelabs a short video about P.A.M & R.I.T.A – the two parts of our mind who are in conflict.

P.A.M.(c) is our 'Paying Attention Mind' which enables us to focus, plan and carry out those plans.

R.I.T.A.(c) is our Random Intrusive Thoughts Activator – that part of our mind that goes off at tangents, throws up unrelated 'trash and trivia' and generally takes over unless we consciously keep P.A.M. firmly in the driving seat of our lives. Paradoxically it takes focus and self-discipline to keep ourselves focused and disciplined!

So a rewarding path to happiness comes from taking responsibility for ourselves; developing enough self-awareness to know how we process the world as we perceive it through our senses; and in making the decision to become more self-disciplined; and to learn what we need to transform and be able to stay doggedly on our journey towards the light of loving happiness for ourselves and those around us.

Maxine Harley (MSc Psychotherapy) MIND HEALER & MENTOR – where you'll find a full page of FREE RESOURCES to help you to understand the effects of your childhood emotions, and how they still impact your life; and how to S.E.L.E.C.T. Your Life – with Self-awareness – Education – Learning new skills – Emotional intelligence and balance – Control, clarity and choice – TRANSFORMATION!

You will also find 5 self-help online courses - to improve your relationship with yourself and your past, with your partner/spouse, your children, and in your work/business life - helping women to understand and manager their emotions, boundaries and behaviours - and to FEEL better, so they can BE, DO and HAVE better at home, and in their career or business! - a series of 10 self-help online workshops - of Psycho-Emotional-Education - to help you with a wide range of life difficulties (e.g. anxiety, stress, anger, depression, relationships, self-esteem and confidence, happiness, mindful living, self-awareness and development) - changing the sub-conscious belief system and S.C.R.I.P.T. (c) Sub-Conscious-Rules-Influencing-Present-Time

Maxine Harley

MIND HEALER & MENTOR - Psychotherapist (MSc), Author, Columnist & Blogger. Please see and, S.E.L.E.C.T. Your Life Company Ltd.

I help women to FEEL better - so they can BE, DO and HAVE better! As a MIND HEALER I specialise in helping women to recover from a troubled childhood and toxic parents, to heal and transcend their emotional wounds, re-parent their inner child, and make peace with their past. This enables and empowers them to become better parents, partners, professionals - and all round happier calmer people :-) As a MENTOR I offer different levels of therapeutic self development - including MINDING YOUR BUSINESS, MINDING THE GAP, and MIND MASTERY...please discover more at