Discipline Is The Highest Form Of Self Love (Are You Doing It Wrong?)

If you spend some time searching the top ideas for self-love or self-care, how many lists will tell you that discipline is the highest form of self love?

The internet is full of blogs that list the top self-love ideas. On these lists you see things like treating yourself to a movie night with a bowl of chips after a stressful week at work.

But, do you ever hear about the real power that discipline and self control have in showing self-love?

Discipline Is The Highest Form Of Self Love – The Problem with Self Love

Many of the ideas for self-love that are shared online are powerful tools that can help you feel like you are showing yourself love.

But here’s the problem.

Self-love is not about temporarily treating yourself. And it is not about slapping a bandaid over your areas for growth.

The highest form of self love is not one that sidesteps conflict, struggle, or setbacks that cause you to feel depleted.

Is it Really Self-Love?

If you are searching for a quick and easy way to love yourself, unfortunately you may have to look a bit harder.

Self-love isn’t just something that can be done on Friday night by watching a movie and eating a bowl of chips. Sure, this can feel quite lovely in the moment, but that is really the end of it (unless you make it a regular habit).

This is the type of recommendation for self-love that only has a numbing effect. Numbing is what we do when we engage in something to temporarily distract us from unpleasant thoughts, feelings, or experiences.

When we numb ourselves, we take any of the realities of life that we don’t like and bury them under whatever feels good in the moment (usually, something salty, sweet, or just generally unhealthy).

Numbing is sidestepping vulnerability.

Sidestepping Vulnerability

Life isn’t easy. There is no shortage of pain, hurt, struggle, and just plain bonkers events that want to knock us down. And when we fall, fail, or struggle, there are a pile of negative emotions that come with it.

And negative emotions are yucky! Right? They feel bad, and they tend to make other people uncomfortable. But, we have been fed a rather grotesque lie that being vulnerable means being weak.

One of the most powerful self love inspirational quotes comes from the great Brené Brown, one of the great leaders in vulnerability research. If you Google books about vulnerability, Daring Greatly will appear on many, many lists.

In Daring Greatly, Brené Brown writes:

Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. To believe vulnerability is weakness it to believe that feeling is weakness.”

This is just one of many inspirational quotes about vulnerability that remind us that numbing and hiding from our feelings just downright silly!

Many people don’t want to do the hard work to own vulnerability and confront negative emotions because they feel that it makes them weak. Instead, it is much easier (and more socially accepted) to just hide these emotions, run from them, or numb them!

So instead of facing down our feelings, we end up falling face first into a big ol’ bowl of instant gratification to numb the pain.

And we call it self-love.

Why Discipline Is the Highest Form of Self Love

So if many of the self-love ideas a lot of people use are really just numbing vulnerable feelings … then what is the highest form of self-love?

There is a quote that claims that ‘discipline is the highest form of self-love’. And this is one of those powerful motivational quotes that has a bit of a confusing meaning.

Discipline gets a bad reputation, because in some contexts it can be used to describe a punishment. And how can punishing yourself be considered the highest form of self-love?

Well, here’s where things get a bit mixed up.

Discipline can also mean giving up immediate pleasure or instant gratification for the exchange of long term self respect and self love. Being disciplined is what happens when your commitment to a cause takes priority over anything else.

Discipline means doing something hard right now so that your future self can enjoy a happy life. It means passing up something that feels good in the moment as an act of self love.

Being disciplined is a matter of understanding that today’s actions have consequences for tomorrow’s version of yourself. And you have a choice in whether you set yourself up for success, or make things harder on yourself.

So this new look at discipline explains why discipline can be considered the highest form of self love.

It isn’t about punishment at all!

Discipline is about loving yourself so much that you consider your own future interests over what the present version of yourself wants.

This is the complete opposite of the ‘movie and a bowl of chips’ approach to self love mentioned earlier. Yes, that approach feels good in the moment. But it isn’t going to have any lasting positive change for your future self.

How to Use Discipline as Self Love

So, what is the best approach to self-love then?

Using self-discipline isn’t always easy, but it is one of the most effective ways to show yourself self-love. It takes a lot of effort to do the right thing that is in your own best interest when faced with a tough decision.

And we are faced with a whole pile of decisions each day! Some of these decisions are virtually meaningless (which fork will I use to eat my lunch today?). While others have much greater consequences (will I call in sick today or not?).

The first step to using discipline as self-love is to recognize that your future self is the person who has to pay the price for the decisions that you make in your life right now.

This can be hard, because instant gratification is often very tempting. But, think about your future self as a separate person that is not you. If you picture yourself as someone that you love, it can be easier to remember that you have the power to either help or hurt that person. After all, you wouldn’t make decisions that hurt someone you love and care about!

Sometimes, starting an inner dialogue with yourself can help! For example, the conversation could look something like this!

  • Present Self: Look, future self, I really need to stay up late tonight and unwind.
  • Future Self: Listen. Don’t do this to me again! Remember how crappy we felt this morning from last night?
  • Present Self: Yeah, yeah, I know. But I had no time to myself today! I want to show myself a bit of self-love. You know? Treat myself!
  • Future Self: That isn’t self-love, man! That is instant gratification in disguise!

It sounds silly, but pretending to have a conversation with yourself in the future can really help you focus on the important things.

Examples of Using Discipline as Self-Love

There is no shortage of ‘easy ways’ in life. The temptation to take the easier route instead of the healthier route is something we have to face almost every day of our lives.

Shortcuts often feel like easier access to a happy life, but the reality is that they just sidestep the hard work we need to put in to truly love ourselves.

The following examples will explain how discipline can be used to show yourself self-love in all areas of your life!

Being Disciplined with Your Goals and Dreams

Do you have dreams and goals for your life? How many of them have your reached? And how often do you give up on the goals that you set for yourself?

It should come as no surprise to learn that being disciplined will make it more likely that you will reach your goals. After all, having a plan in place and sticking to it is what separates goals from wishes.

This holds true for any type of goal that you set for yourself. Whether it is a health, finance, or professional goal, putting your future self first and staying committed gives you a better chance of reaching your goals!

Being Disciplined with Your Health

Eating well and exercising regularly are common goals that people have. These also happen to be two of the most difficult goals to stick with!

Imagine, you’ve just had a long hard week full of exhausting conflict at work. You find yourself starring down a nice 24 slice slab of pepperoni and cheese.

You’ve been working hard to watch what you eat, but you notice your mouth starting to water. You can just picture the rubbery chewiness of the perfectly melted cheese pulling away from your teeth. One slice wouldn’t hurt, right?

But then, in a moment of low self esteem, one slice turns into five slices. What’s one more? Six is a nice even number. Let’s stop at six.

The instant gratification you get feels great. You can feel all the stress and pressures of work being swallowed with all the greasy goodness.

And while your troubles may have disappeared temporarily with the pizza, they will without a doubt resurface with a vengeance on Monday morning!

Then, Monday morning comes around and you promised yourself that you were going to go for a run before work. But sleeping in feels so much better!

There is nothing wrong with treating yourself to a pizza dinner or skipping a workout. But when it is about numbing, or it becomes a habit, things get problematic.

Being disciplined enough to start a self-care routine that involves regular exercise and eating right will show your future self that you love them!

Being Disciplined with Your Time

Another way to show discipline as self-love is to use your time wisely.

A powerful experiment is to measure how much time you spend on social media, TV shows, or other such activities in a week.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying a nice brain break, but when we over-indulge in screen-time, we take up time we could be using on real self-love.

Setting a reasonable amount of leisure time and balancing it with productive time is one way to stay disciplined with your time!

Being Disciplined with Your Loved Ones

Another way to show yourself self-love is in the way you interact with your loved ones.

An example of discipline as self love is when you choose to leave your phone upstairs while you are playing with your kids. You know how great it feels to scroll through the social medias, but developing a real connection with your kids is a better way to show your future self some love.

Self Love and Self Discipline Quotes

Self-discipline is hard work. It requires dedication to a cause with purpose beyond what feels good in the moment.

But the rewards that self-discipline offers are much more valuable than anything instant gratification could ever provide!

There are many motivational quotes about self-discipline from notable figures in history. Use these inspirational quotes about self-discipline to help see the connection between self-love and self-discipline in your life!

The one quality which sets one man apart from another – the key which lifts one to every aspiration while others are caught up in the mire of mediocrity – is not talent, formal education, nor intellectual brightness. It is self-discipline. With self-discipline, all things are possible. Without it, even the simplest goal can seem like the impossible dream.” – Theodore Roosevelt

In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves… self-discipline with all of them came first.” – Harry S. Truman

Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” – Marcus Aurelius

The centre of bringing any dream into fruition is self-discipline.” – Will Smith

Discipline and Self-Love in Your Life

The definition of self-love is doing the right thing that is in your best interest. Not just in the moment, but for your future self as well.

And it can be tough to make the right decision when thinking about your own happiness. One of the hardest things is to consider more than just our happiness in the moment!

Discipline isn’t something that just comes overnight. Self-love involves constant self-discipline. It requires tons of practice and dedication to loving yourself.

A Helpful Tool: Habit Tracker Printable

Constant self-discipline requires you to make a habit out of staying disciplined. This means making routines that you are able to stick to.

Despite what you may hear, there is no one-time quick fix to loving yourself!

One way to keep your habits visible is by using a habit tracker printable. Habit trackers are excellent tools that allow you to write out the habits you want to break or create.

Whether you track your habits daily, monthly, or yearly, using a habit tracker is a powerful way to stay disciplined and show self love!

habit tracker printable

So next time you feel the urge to numb your cares away, remember that discipline is the highest form of self love. This quote may just be what you need to commit to loving yourself for life!

Don’t forget to share this post with your friends and family on social media! If you know someone who could use some self-discipline in their life, this could be one of those posts that changes everything!


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