***This was originally going to be a Facebook Live presentation, but – unfortunately – FB Live is not my friend right now. *side eye* Nevertheless, I wanted to discuss a topic that I have been battling with for the past few days.***
We’ve all been through challenges, changes, and transformations that have pushed us to become better versions of ourselves. I know, personally, that I am a “challenge junkie!” If it’s about growth, evolvement, and increase I’m all for it. However, recently I’ve been wondering if, by strengthening my self-discipline, am I subconsciously experiencing self-deprivation.
Follow me here!
We all know that self-discipline is the act of controlling your thoughts, actions, and the like for improvement. Self-deprivation, on the other hand, is the act of denying yourself the basic needs of life (food, water, shelter – all that good stuff)! When I speak of self-deprivation in this instance though I’m going deeper than the basics. In my comparison, I’m referring to the little joys of life that we like to experience: television, treats, splurges at the store. Things of that nature.
In my case, one of my current self-disciplines is to exercise more for increased energy. Yet, lately, I feel like I’ve been depriving myself of rest because – God forbid – if I skip an exercise day then all of my prior workouts have been in vain. Now intellectually I know that’s not the case, yet I’ll deprive myself the occasional *bonus rest day* because I’m determined to stick to my exercise schedule.
Here’s another example. Anyone that knows me knows that I LOVE CAKE!!! Since I’m exercising more I’m also working on changing my eating habits. Now, prior to this newfound love of working out (*snickers sarcastically*) I used to scarf down an entire box of Little Debbie snack cakes without blinking an eye. Now, I feel like if I eat even one I’m setting myself back and wasting months of workout time. Yet another exaggerated excuse to not have a snack cake, but that’s my current mental state.
This got me to thinking: what is the difference between self-discipline and self-deprivation? Here’s my answer:
Self-discipline is the act of controlling your thoughts and actions for the betterment of your overall goal. AKA…resistance!
Self-deprivation is the act of forbidding harmless pleasures for the sake of your overall goal. AKA…restriction!
Resistance VS restriction. One can move you two steps forward. The other can set you two steps back. Resistance is what allows you to strengthen your self-discipline. It’s the art of knowing how to determine what’s good for you and in what increments. Restriction is like a stern parent; it doesn’t allow you to enjoy the process of self-growth and increases the chance of self-sabotage.
How can you tell if you’re experiencing self-discipline or self-deprivation? Look at the end result. If you buckle, how will it affect the end goal? How will it affect how you feel about yourself? Will you still be able to achieve your desired results? If the answer still leads you to success, then it’s a mere act of self-discipline. If the answer leads to guilt and shame, then it’s self-deprivation.
Increased self-discipline is a healthy goal; increased self-deprivation is not. The best way to counteract the latter is to reward yourself while strengthening the former. A bonus rest day…a bonus snack…a bonus gift is not going to throw you off course. When you set rewards for yourself you reduce the risk of self-deprivation. When you reduce that risk, you also reduce the chance of self-sabotage. Know your starting and ending points, decide what counts as a true risk to your goal versus a harmless treat, and move accordingly. Knowing what you’re facing ahead of time helps to stick with improving your self-discipline while eliminating the experience of self-deprivation.