Updated: Oct 20, 2020
There was a time in my life when anger was my go-to response for every disappointment or unmet expectation. My anger became a raging monster so out of control that I felt it consuming me—the real me was cowering from the rage I felt growing inside. I knew I needed help the day I erupted at my five-year old daughter, during what should have been a teaching moment, with, “How could you have done such a horrible thing! I can never, ever trust you again!”
A sweet, exuberant child had made an honest child-like mistake. I had treated her as if she were my cheating first husband. I knew then I was out of control of myself, emotions and thinking.
I found help in a mentor who led me on a path of self-discipline. It was extremely painful admitting I was not a victim and did have a choice in how I feel and think. I could no longer lay the blame elsewhere for my poor choices!
When I hear the word discipline, unpleasant images come to mind of an Army Sergeant screaming at recruits. Something to be avoided. Yet put the word self in front of discipline and suddenly I feel inspired!
We are disciplining ourselves from the time we are born: to grow, improve--to reach new heights! Think of infant’s instinctive goal of learning to walk. She first pulls herself up on crib rails, table ledges and chairs, giving her stubby legs strength she needs to hold up her oversized body and head.
Next, she takes her first tentative step legs toward the outstretched arms her parent. She falls, her unsteady step doomed from the start! Shock registers on her face at
the unexpected. She pauses a moment while her brain processes information, disciplining itself as to what might have gone wrong.
Rising with determination, she pulls herself up, only to fall again. Each time she tries, her brain is disciplining itself on where to place her feet and arms, and how to better balance. Every time she rises, her legs are disciplining by growing stronger muscles. Each rise and fall instill in her fortitude and courage, self-discipline to try again after failing and the faith and perseverance that if she continues to try, she will eventually succeed.
So on she goes, taking those self-disciplining, faltering steps… falling and rising again until the moment of triumph: she walks!
And so on with my journey of self-discipline I went, painfully falling back into my old habits of victimhood at times. Yet over the years, my new skills and perspectives were helping me rise and re-take the self-control needed to bring my body, mind, and spirit into peace—not anger, and into harmony and authenticity with the core principles and values I hold dear.
I am now at an age that I value self-discipline, for self-discipline means I have the control to become more and more of who I want to be!