Self Discipline Requires Listening to Yourself

Want to be a better person? Lose weight? Be more “spiritual”? Succeed in whatever endeavor you are involved in?

Don’t we all? Don’t we all wish it would be easy?

Sorry, it isn’t. I’ve been doing some reading on habits, disciplines, getting things done. Thought I’d assemble a few of the thoughts into one post.

Do you have a clear picture of the kind of person you’d like to be? How you’d like to look. How you’d like to interact with other people. A good teacher said once that before you know what to do, you need to know who you want to be.

Have a picture in your mind? Good.

Now there are two things to watch about yourself. But first, a word about that “watch yourself” phrase. The phrase “know thyself” from ancient wisdom teaching is too easily repeated and too difficult implemented. Psychologist pioneer Roberto Assagioli taught us to work on the ability to stop outside of ourselves mentally and see ourselves acting.

So, you are in a check out line in a store. Someone in front of you has 13 items (you counted) in the 12-item-or-less express check out lane. You say something inappropriate. You do not see the desired effect. You say it again louder. Ah, but then you have stepped outside yourself mentally and you see how you are acting and hear what you are saying. Now, you feel differently.

The first step in growth is to watch your urges and learn not to act on your childish whims. See yourself as you throw a temper tantrum or whine or say cutting things meant to hurt others.

The second step is listening. Listen to your inner self-rationalizations. Realize when your mind begins to blame others or justify an action through the famous “everyone else does it.”

Now begin to look for patterns. If one and two happen too often—say a couple of times a day—then maybe it is time for a heart checkup. Not with the cardiologist. With a friend, spiritual guide, pastor. Someone who will help you change your inner problems that cause those situations. Maybe anger, guilt, anxiety. All the things that getting back into the practice of Spiritual disciplines will heal.

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