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Jun 282013
 

Time Magazine recently published an interesting article on self-disciplined people and how their discipline also goes toward them being happier.
I definitely think that self discipline is important in our lives. That we do what we know is good for us even if we really don’t want to do that thing.
My biggest hurdle in self-discipline was to actually quit “trying” to stop smoking and actually DO it. Another hurdle was to start a low sodium diet when I had been raised to enjoy a very high sodium diet of “grease, salt and grits.”

Here’s the link to the article and it makes some great points.

http://healthland.time.com/2013/06/24/self-disciplined-people-are-happier-and-not-as-deprived-as-you-think/?xid=newsletter-weekly

The research, which was published in the Journal of Personality, showed that self-control isn’t just about deprivation, but more about managing conflicting goals. Since most people associate highly disciplined folks with being more task-oriented — they’re not likely to be the life of the party, for example, or eager to act on a whim — the scientists decided to correlate self-control with people’s happiness, to determine if being self-disciplined leaves people feeling less joyful.Through a series of tests — including one that assessed 414 middle-aged participants on self-control and asked them about their life satisfaction both currently and in the past — and another that randomly queried volunteers on their smartphones about their mood and any desires they might be experiencing, the researchers found a strong connection between higher levels of self-control and life satisfaction. The authors write that “feeling good rather than bad may be a core benefit of having good self-control, and being well satisfied with life is an important consequence.””… self-control isn’t just about deprivation, but more about managing conflicting goals.” Managing conflicting goals; the problem with the population that lives beyond their means then come crying for relief when they can’t pay the rent

In my life I have had self control and disciplined myself in many aspects, and in others, I have not exercised self discipline and have given into my desires when those desires were not healthy for me. Many people have difficulty with self discipline in some, or in many, aspects of their lives.

I try to run my life in many ways like a “business” and if something isn’t working, then I change to something that does. But while I have tried this, in many cases I have failed, and have given in to my emotions, and frankly, letting your emotions have total control over our life is not healthy for us. Just as living beyond our means financially gets us behind the financial eight-ball, so does letting our emotions keep people in our lives that are not healthy for us.

I look at many examples in the community, young girls having sex before they are emotionally ready for it, and having children as a result, that they are not ready to effectively parent. Being undisciplined though is not confined to youngsters, but to all ages, and social levels. When I was working in family medicine practice, we had people come in to the clinic on a regular basis without health insurance and they wanted a break on the price of the visit because they couldn’t “afford insurance” but I knew that they had a $30,000 bass fishing boat in their front yard. So were were their priorities? I personally couldn’t sleep at night if I didn’t have medical insurance and I would go to great lengths to pay for it. To me, a person who can “afford” a $30,000 toy, and refuses to buy health insurance for their children  is abusing those children.

Learning to be responsible in our choices, and to discipline ourselves to make logical adult decisions is an ongoing process as we mature. Unfortunately, there are those people in this world that do not accept responsibility for themselves and continue to behave as if “the world owes them a living.”

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  6 Responses to “Self discipline improves our lives”

  1. Joyce, thank you for this important message because it completely resonates with me, right now.

    I’m in the process of altering a number of aspects of the methods that I’ve chosen to live my life. In the past, I equated “self-discipline” with beating myself up, and there’s a HUGE difference.

    I have always been very hard on myself whenever I would make a mistake, fail at an attempt to accomplish something, and even when I DID accomplish something. I maintained that belief that I was “never good enough” to actually ENJOY self-discipline, as something positive.

    One of the most glaring indications of confusing self-discipline with self-flagellation is how I minimized all of my own personal accomplishments. I’ve won awards at places of employment (for excellence), I was awarded honors and a scholarship in college, I won “Best Painting” at 2 exhibits, and I never “felt” proud of these accomplishments. Today, I’m very proud of them and I somewhat regret not feeling this, at the time. I clearly recognize that those “feelings” were based upon ingrained shame-core beliefs, and the continued undermining of toxic people around me who INTENDED to keep me beaten down using my own self-flagellation to do it.

    Self-discipline doesn’t have to be a painful exercise, anymore. I can accomplish things for a variety of reasons, and I am beginning to take some pride in these accomplishments. I survived a horrid living situation and have experienced incredible self-preservation and resourcefulness, and I’m still clinging on with my fingernails. I am seriously learning that self-discipline works across the boards, as well – getting to the point of your article.

    “Feelings” are important and I must acknowledge them instead of burying them or stuffing them down and pretending that they don’t exist. BUT….I’m approaching those feelings in the business-like manner that they aren’t always based upon facts. The fact is that I have bills to pay and the “feeling” that I would like to have new shoes cannot factor into my lifestyle, right now. The “feeling” that I am lonely SEEMS to be based upon “facts,” but I’m learning to take this time to rebuild myself and my boundaries, beliefs, and truths on my own. I have to make myself take caution when my feelings start overriding the “practical” part of who I am.

    I never even KNEW that I actually HAD a practical side! I’ve always run hot on emotion – feelings making the decisions. After surviving the past 2 years (and, my lifetime), I have learned that I’m NOT saddled with any diagnosis or label and that I DO have the ability to rewire my thinking processes.

    Self-discipline does NOT have to be self-deprivation. GREAT article, Joyce!

  2. Truthy, your quote from above:

    One of the most glaring indications of confusing self-discipline with self-flagellation is how I minimized all of my own personal accomplishments. I’ve won awards at places of employment (for excellence), I was awarded honors and a scholarship in college, I won “Best Painting” at 2 exhibits, and I never “felt” proud of these accomplishments. Today, I’m very proud of them and I somewhat regret not feeling this, at the time. I clearly recognize that those “feelings” were based upon ingrained shame-core beliefs, and the continued undermining of toxic people around me who INTENDED to keep me beaten down using my own self-flagellation to do it.

    You need to read a book called “the imposter syndrome” and I think it applies to you as well as me.

    I was always the smartest kid in the class, could make As without effort. YET even when I did make As or God forbid, the B, which I caught hell about from my parents, I never felt I deserved it.

    I had a situation in 10th grade English class when we were having a spelling test of some pretty big words and I made 100% on the test, and I think the next closest score was 89, and Mrs. Barlow came over and congratulated me on my score, my IMMEDIATE EMOTIONAL RESPONSE (I didn’t say it out loud)) was “Boy did I FOOL her” DUH? No I didn’t “fool” her into thinking I did a good job, I DID A GOOD JOB.

    I have always been very sensitive to people thinking I did not do an OUTSTANDING job, and when I DID an outstanding job, I felt that I really didn’t deserve the accolades for it, I had “fooled” them, I was thinking I was an IMPOSTER….I know that doesn’t make sense logically but I never felt “good enough” no matter how much I succeeded.

    Then when I started having short term memory problems because of the PTSD I really freaked out because now I couldn’t remember squat. I couldn’t learn or read as fast as I once could. I felt like a complete RETARD and that freaked me out even more.

    Excellent was never good enough, I had to be “perfect” and when I wasn’t “perfect” then I was a failure, but I could PRETEND that I was competent. LOL What a hamster wheel that is when we get on it and run for our lives, we get no where fast.

    I still have trouble thinking that I am “good enough”—and when I make a mistake my “knee jerk” response is self abuse. The worst kind of abuse there is.

    Just like Nigella Lawson doesn’t see herself as “some abused wife” because she was trained to accept that as normal and to try to “please even her toothbrush” I was also a “people pleaser” and tried to please even the most abusive individuals in my life. NOT a good choice. I can relate part of that to my mother’s constant criticism and my desire to please her which I never could, but still..l.had to learn and am still learning and trying to change my “knee jerk” responses and ACCEPT MYSELF as less than “perfect” and too accept that THAT IS OKAY.

  3. Joyce, precisely. This is a GREAT topic of discussion where shame-core is concerned. Self-discipline is something that I understood to be a punishment, rather than a simple management technique.

    My mother, bless her soul, was diagnosed Bipolar very late in her life. This diagnosis explained a number of things, but I had already learned the polar opposites in behaviors from my parents. My father was a determined over-achiever, as were ALL of his siblings. They were raised in the Pennsylvania Deutsch environment of “the best you can do isn’t good enough.” My mother was raised in a dysfunctional environment of alcoholism and avoidance. Between the two of them, the dynamics of dysfunction were set in concrete. On the one hand, my mother would over-indulge my emotions when she was sober, and my father would inadvertently ridicule my hyper-sensitivity because of his OWN dysfunction. The message was clear: I didn’t meet any standard in either direction.

    Self-discipline is something that I’m just beginning (at this late stage) to learn about. It covers everything, across the boards, from finances to choosing friends. Just because I “feel” lonely or “feel” the need for friends, I am VERY hesitant to open that door as a result of my experiences. The self-discipline comes into play when I’m talking to people, in general – I have to discipline myself to keep my big mouth SHUT and to watch, listen, and observe BEFORE I open my big mouth! LOLOL

    This goes forth with disclosures and topics of conversation. I have defined some topics as strictly OFF LIMITS, and I won’t back down on this. This is a very uncomfortable place for me to be, Joyce, because I have always been a “people pleaser,” as well, and it goes against everything that I was taught, as a child. The upside is that it’s becoming less and less uncomfortable and more and more empowering to me. I finally realize that I have the power and control over my OWN choices as to what I will, and will NOT, allow.

    Good discussion, here…. 😀

  4. You know, Truthy, I felt growing up that living a “Christian” life and following all the commandments in the Bible was a DRAG….just to take the FUN out of life. But now as an adult, I see that there is NOT ONE command or “thou shalt not…” in the Bible that is harmful to a good self disciplined life. Thou shalt not kill…okay, that’s a good thing. Thou shalt not commit adultery…yep, another good thing…and so on. The instructions on what kind of friends to make and associate with…yep, those are good advice and if we follow them we will lead a much better life. My mother and her denomination took verses out of context and perverted the meaning of them, such as”forgiveness = restorinig trust” of course NOT, not when you read the scriptures with an OPEN mind and don’t take someone else’s opinions about it.

    The Bible is filled with GOOD advice on how to treat others, and how to avoid being abused, and now I see that while I used to think it was such a strict thing to try to live by those precepts and that it took all the “fun” out of life. LOL

    If I had lived by those precepts in the first place I would have avoided 99.9% of all the self made troubles I’ve ever had, troubles that I contributed to by not following that advice.

    I’m still not “perfect” and not likely to be anywhere close to it in this life time, but now that I am making an effort to live by the precepts of the Bible I am doing much much better. I no longer visualize God as some guy sitting up there looking for excuses to send me to hades, but a loving father who gave me instructions on how to live a good, healthy and happy life.

  5. Following Jesus’ righteous teachings (after we comprehend them and apply them to or life) adds another tool to our tool belt of life. We always have these tools to use no matter how the lesson has a variety of forms which would take another person off guard..

  6. Wini, you are totally right, even for non-believers, the precepts for how to live a good life are in the Bible.The moral laws of our society are based on these precepts from the Ten Commandments on to Jesus’ teachings in how we should treat others.

    Unfortunately too many people know that it is wrong to kill but they do it anyway, that is wrong to steal but they do it anyway.

    We have CHOICES in how we behave and many people chose to do wrong…over and over and over. Those people have no desire to change and live in peace with either God’s laws or man’s laws. Their failure to adhere to any laws effects their families in negative ways. We must see by a person’s actions, not just their words if they intend to stop offensive and illegal behavior. If not, then we must put that person out of our lives for our own sakes.

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