Why Discipline Equals Self-Love


Happiness, Lifestyle, Self Development, Wellbeing / Sunday, January 13th, 2019

Listening to a podcast on my way home the other day I came across the following quote which has stuck with me since:

Put your ass where your heart wants to be.

– Steven Pressfield

What does he mean by this? In the interview, he mainly talks about how we are going to face resistance every time we are trying to follow our heart, our passion. Therefore, any act that contains commitment of the heart will will result in resistance on the other end. The deeper the passion, the more profound the commitment, the bigger the resistance. That is what makes it so hard to make a dream become reality. And why so many people end up not going for it and give up. Stick to the normal everyday life they know instead. Keep dreaming.

Everyone is an Artist

Steven’s books are mainly art related (The War of Art) and he wants to convey that everyone is creative in some kind of way and can produce their own kind of art. Their individual addition to the world. Thus, everyone is an artist and can be perceived as one. In life, it is our challenge to find out what we are here to create. But to do this we need to be disciplined. So if we want to write, we need to sit quietly with a laptop or a pen and give it a real chance. If we want a certain job, we need to sign up for a course that will get us there and follow that path. If we want to start a company, we need to start connecting with the right people. Maybe hire a coach. No excuses. Put our bottoms where our heart wants to be.

Overcoming Resistance

I think what resonated with me so much about this is the subdivision or the difference he makes between mind and body. Our mind generally knows where we want to head with our lives and what decisions we desire to make. A lot of the time, we already know what we are here for, what we like doing. In the least we have a sense of it, a grasp. However, our body does not always follow and we rather stick with the status quo, with what we already know. Besides, it is kind of difficult to leave the couch and our beloved Netflix series alone for a while, isn’t it? There you go again, so much resistance!

Well, the good news is according to Steven Pressfield you are not alone. Everyone faces this resistance. Every single person. But overcoming it will be so worth it. How do we do this? I think (and this is my own interpretation now of what Steven Pressfield said) one big part is to practise discipline.

The Issue with Accountability

Let’s be honest, most people do not like to be held accountable. More responsibility? No thank you. It’s hard enough to deal with what I have to face every day already. Especially my generation seems to suffer from not wanting to commit to things, whether it is a job, a partner, a new hobby or simply just a meeting with a friend for a coffee. “Something better might come along”, we think. Or: “I might be too tired that day. Better say I will let him/her know closer to the time.” The “Maybe” button on Facebook invitation says it all. And what does it leave the host with? A lot of confusion and no idea who is actually going to commit and show up.

In our personal lives we often face the same problem. We know what would be right to do (exercise more, eat healthier, see our friends more often, finally start that additional uni degree etc.), but we are not disciplined enough to actually go through with it.

Being in Control

Most people probably think that discipline just has to do with authority and obeying rules and that it is no fun at all. And in a sense that is true. But to me, discipline also means to be in control of your own life. To make your own willing decisions and to go through with them. No matter what. In the Cambridge Dictionary, discipline is defined as “the ability to control yourself and other people, even in difficult situations.” Sticking with something even when it gets difficult and uncomfortable. Not listening to the inner voice telling you that you cannot do it, that you don’t have enough money or time, that you are not good enough. Michael A. Singer calls this “the inner roommate.”

A roommate, because this voice is always with you. Resistance mainly takes the form of fear and this inner voice is an expression of our fear. Our ego. In overcoming it and “just doing it” to say it with the words of Nike, we learn a lot about ourselves and are able to love ourselves for the commitment we have made. Because things will change and keep moving forward if we do. This is why I believe that discipline is a pure expression of self-love and acceptance. It means seeing things as they are, but loving ourselves enough to take action, to commit and to change in the direction we want to head in. No excuses, because everyone faces resistance. The difference lies in who is willing to overcome it.

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