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  • Writer's pictureTom Kirkham

Discovering the Balance Between Self-Care and Self-Discipline: A Journey of Personal Growth

As I reflect on my journey as a therapist, I realise that there was a time when I mistakenly equated self-care solely with either pleasurable activities or self-discipline.

It took me a while to understand that while both pleasure and self-discipline are crucial for achieving goals and maintaining good habits, neither pleasure nor self-discipline is the entirety of self-care.

In fact, this realisation led me to uncover some vital elements of self-care that were missing from my understanding.

When I became more goal-oriented, I emphasised self-discipline above all else. Pushing myself, staying focused on goals, and maintaining a routine were the keys to success.

While these aspects are indeed important, I gradually began to feel a sense of imbalance and burnout creeping in.

During this time of reflection, I started to delve deeper into the concept of self-care. I revisited the side of self-care that encompasses not just physical health practices like exercise and nutrition but also mental health and emotional well-being.

Integrating these aspects of self-care is an ongoing process that is only ever partially perfected.

This realisation was a game-changer for me.

Integrating and synthesising my learning, I discovered that self-discipline is vital to self-care. Still, to optimise overall wellness and well-being effectively, it must be balanced realistically with values like self-compassion, self-kindness, self-forgiveness, and pleasure and enjoyment.

This balanced approach became one of the master keys to wellness in my personal and professional life.

Self-compassion taught me to be gentle with myself, especially during challenging times or when facing setbacks. Instead of harsh self-criticism, I learned to offer myself understanding and support, much like I would to a friend in need.

This shift in mindset brought about a profound sense of inner peace and resilience.

Self-kindness became another cornerstone of my self-care journey. It involved treating myself with love, respect, and acceptance, regardless of my flaws or mistakes.

Embracing self-kindness allowed me to let go of perfectionism and embrace authenticity in my personal life and coaching practice.

Furthermore, self-forgiveness played a crucial role in my well-being. I realised that holding onto past mistakes or perceived failures only weighed me down.

By practising self-forgiveness, I freed myself from unnecessary guilt and shame, allowing room for growth, learning, and positive change.

In essence, finding the balance between self-discipline and these core values of self-care has been transformative.

It has enabled me to connect with a sense of ever-unfolding greater clarity and focus and to nurture a deep understanding of self-awareness, compassion, and fulfilment.

As I continue to guide others on their authentic business and personal development journeys, I emphasise the importance of this balanced approach to self-care.

It's not just about pushing harder or doing more; it's about cultivating a holistic sense of well-being that encompasses self-discipline tempered with self-compassion, self-kindness, and self-forgiveness.

This balance is one of the master keys to wellbeing.

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