Having a better life starts with practicing self-discipline and developing the habit of delayed gratification.
Delayed gratification is the process of scheduling the pain and pleasure of life.
Let’s say you struggle with procrastination. Who among us hasn’t tackled the easy work first and then spent the rest of the day struggling with the boring and difficult stuff?
The author had a patient with this exact problem, and he advised her to start practicing delayed gratification by reversing her work habits.
This meant bearing down and dealing with the difficult stuff first. So instead of facing one easy hour followed by six miserable hours of dragging her feet, she could have one miserable hour followed by the reward of six enjoyable hours.
Discipline also means accepting responsibility, being truthful and striking a healthy balance in life.
Delayed gratification is just one of the tools that will help you bring discipline to your life.
Real self-discipline also requires that you accept responsibility for your own life.
Another tool that can improve your self-discipline is a dedication to truth, meaning that you honestly and openly face the reality of your life.
Now, this can be a tough one since it requires that you have a strong sense of self-reflection and be willing to constantly update your worldview.
Being open to self-analysis, and reflecting honestly on life, are part and parcel of personal growth.
The final tool for better discipline is balancing.
It means letting go and giving up the unhealthy habits and extreme behaviors that are throwing your life out of balance. These are things you may do because they add a thrill to your life, but which, in the end, tend not to turn out well.
Love is closely linked to our spiritual growth and self-discipline. Much has been written and said about the nature of love, but put simply, love is having the will to nurture your own spiritual growth, as well as that of someone else.
In this way, you can look at love as an important part of your evolution, since spiritual growth is about reaching a larger state of being.
It’s also important to understand that before you can love someone else, you first need to love yourself. It’s similar to a parent teaching a child how to behave in a disciplined manner. For this to happen, the parent must practice this discipline themselves.
To love someone means making an effort. It requires more than a mere desire to love. Most people desire, or want, to love, but few are in fact loving. Those with the will to grow spiritually have chosen to love and therefore they act lovingly.
Love is not a feeling but an action that requires attention and comes with risks. The feeling of love is related to cathecting, which means investing emotional energy in something or someone.
Love can even exist without that feeling we always associate with it, since true love is bigger than cathecting. In a well-functioning marriage, disagreements can happen, and tempers can flare, but the partners continue to work in tandem toward their goals. These are two people who made a commitment through their own volition, and that’s more important than any fleeting emotions.
However, for love to flourish it needs more than a commitment – it requires attention and the understanding that it can be lost.
Loving someone means giving them attention and supporting their growth. And this requires putting aside everything else to truly listen and concentrate on what your loved one is saying and experiencing. When you do this, you extend yourself and gain new knowledge about the person you love. But remember, you can’t love someone without the risk of losing them.