Tag Archives: self-esteem

The Easy Slide From Discipline

While it may not carry with it the same level of warm-fuzzies as America, motherhood and apple pie, it’s pretty hard to argue that discipline isn’t something just about universally celebrated as a good thing to pursue.  The ability to stick with something you commit to, even when things get hard, inconvenient or lonely, is one of those generally accepted positives.  And I think it does deserve that kind of placement in the pantheon of virtues (which now makes me think I need a blog post about a pantheon of virtues).

What’s funny about discipline is how easy it is to get completely wrong.  I say this from very personal experience and I’ve seen it on more than a few occasions in others.

“Hey Kev, you remarkably handsome and dapper son-of-a-gun, how does some get discipline wrong? And how can YOU, of all people, get it wrong?” is what you must be thinking.  I can feel it.  That exact quote of amazement.  I’m good at this stuff.

Glad you (well maybe I) asked.

This is how: when discipline morphs into self-bashing and, at least for me, that transition occurs a little too seamlessly at times.

Not having great focus during a lifting session could be “Not great tonight, but tomorrow get back at it. Maybe get up early to see what you can do.” vs. “What the f**k was that?  You aren’t going to get better mailing it in like that? Seriously, stop screwing around and acting like a jackass.  Do better.”

Trying to lose weight and caving in with an oversized dinner when out with friends could be “Well, not ideal… but that’s just one meal. Get back to the plan tomorrow.” vs. “Great going, champ.  All this progress totally blown.  Typical.  This is why you aren’t doing any better and this is why you keep screwing these things up.”

These aren’t the exact things I am saying to myself (well, maybe the lifting part), but I think it’s representative of how we can shoot for tough-minded discipline and miss the mark by going with “I am going to utterly kick the bejeezus out of myself to fix things.”

Discipline is great and necessitates a toughness towards yourself in order to fully express itself.  You will be forgoing ease and comfort in the pursuit of true discipline.  You will have struggles and moments of doubt as you push through.  You need to persist.

But when you inevitably stumble…because we all stumble… you need to tune in to how you react to that. Tough mixed with positive is doable and you probably need to catch yourself to make it happen. God knows I do.  Because discipline at the expense of your self-worth is a trade-off without much long term merit.

Self-kindness isn’t weakness, my friends.  It may be the best strength you have.

The List of Love

I spent this past weekend in the Columbus, Ohio area for some lifting-related shenanigans. One thing I’ve found with traveling, is I get really reflective during my trips. There’s nothing miraculous about the fact that travel changes your perspective – it’s been written about countless times on the power of seeing other places to broaden your worldview. What’s interesting is that I think this occurs regardless of whether you travel to the other side of the planet or just a few states away… at least, if you are open to it.

During my trip back home to Connecticut, I received a Facebook message from someone that completely caught me off guard, but really in the best possible way. They hit me with a series of extremely kind compliments, just as an observation of what they saw of me and how I live my life. Now, the details of what they said are immaterial and, quite frankly, listing them out just really amounts to me giving myself a high-five for being awesome… and not in the typical snarky way I like to do in not taking myself seriously, but in a fashion that feels braggy.  (Is that a word? “Braggy”? No idea… but I’m running with it).

Upon this person telling me that “you have your shit together”, I said “I might need to remind myself of that, then, on occasion”.  This is a big understatement. Like hyooge. I am inordinately hard on myself – hell, a lot of us are.

The response – “I’ll give you some help.  Name me all the things you love most.”

OK, I am down for this – I like to have a little bit of a thinking challenge, certainly as I am sitting in an airport waiting for my next flight.  I began by thinking of this in order and working my way down.

I started typing back via FB Messenger “My family, especially my nephews and nice. My closest, true friends.” At this point I was thinking over what #3 would be… my health or the experiences I have been fortunate enough to have had in my life… what else would I put in there?

Before I could finish the response back, this note was sent to me:

“How long would it take for you to name yourself?”

I sat there for a minute or so, just looking at that message. I understood the words, how they were structured and all of that good stuff drilled into me from an early age about how English grammar operated. However, I honestly did not get what was being said.

That’s when it hit me – the notion of putting myself on that list was never, ever going to occur to me. Seriously. For all the bluster I like to create with my grandiose self-compliments in my writing, they are done so over-the-top so as to actually be self-deprecating. But to really and truly put myself on a list like that? Yeah, no… would never happen.

The crazy thing is that despite how narcissistic the world can seem these days with how social media creates a look-at-me environment, I think most people are in that same boat. If I may play truly amateur psychologist for a brief moment, whenever I see people going deep down the rabbit hole of self-aggrandizement, I cannot help but see someone who is putting up a brave front in an effort to convince themselves that they deserve that praise. They are trying to make themselves believe it far more than they are trying to make their audience believe it.

2015-10-24 15.42.33Hence why I post this picture, profanity and all (yeah, sorry about that Mom)… because in the moment I took this a year and a half ago, I felt what the shirt said and felt pretty-darn-fantastic about myself… without any sense of guilt over that fact. While I share it with you, the photo was really more for me and enjoying the fact I had that moment.

I will never be the person who boasts about himself – I am just simply not wired that way and I am glad for that fact. I do hope to work on that for myself, quietly, in the background and with as little fanfare as possible.

I share all of this because so much of this blog is to, hopefully, give you something to think about in my own personal challenges. In any sense where this blog is about advice or coaching or guidance or counseling, it is only that in so much as I am trying to lay bare how I am fighting to achieve the same things I speak of. I have an inherent distrust of people who speak from a place of self-claimed expertise without any sense of struggle. It feels horribly inauthentic to me.

Rather, I prefer to show you how I am putting in my own work… even if it is to allow myself an occasional self high-five.

Thoughts, Musings and Ponderings – January 21, 2012

As the snow falls here in Connecticut and renders most activities for the day moot/cancelled, it gives a gentleman like myself a few moments to sit back and think about… well… just a lot of completely random things.  None of these seemed of sufficient weight to merit a full post on their own, so I decided to mash them all together into a beautiful pastiche of fun.  Oh yes my friends… pastiche.  You will only find such quality vocabulary right here at Fierce and Mighty.  Let’s begin.

If you don’t understand that text messages and e-mail lack context and tone, you are hereby banned from using them going forward.

I really don’t get this when it happens and I never had.  If I were to go back in time to when instant messaging was all the rage and AOL dominated the Interwebz (let’s say around 1995-1997), this would be the first time I noticed this trend.  When it’s just words on a page, it’s incredibly easy for the tone of the message to get lost.  This is why smiley faces, LOL and its ilk became so prevalent… it was some kind of attempt to include the subtle textures of tone that were missing.  Seriously.

Fast forward to 2012.  When I see people have a rift driven between them in their friendship based solely on text message exchanges or by the fact someone didn’t respond to their text message, I want to grow hair just so I can rip it out.

I will keep it simple: Until it becomes a trend and proven otherwise (beyond a reasonable doubt and all those good lawyer-ly standards), give your friends the benefit of the doubt, for the love of God.

There is a fine line between valuing your own time and being a complete slug.

I am beginning to seriously wonder whether I need to reassess my life when I have a cleaning service and I have now begun ordering on-line refill cleaning supplies for them to use.  I think that says something about me and while I’m not sure exactly what that is… it can’t be good.

CameraZOOM-20120119182157969

Smart efficiency? Or abject slothdom?

Everyone is (seemingly) having a better life than you… at least on Facebook.

I read someplace recently that social media can have a negative impact on self esteem because you are often inundated with all of the status updates and photos of people having fun/doing great things/traveling to amazing places. Despite the fact that it is a collection of different people, there seems to be an easy slip into thinking that EVERYONE is having AMAZING experiences every single day… and you are just sitting on the couch like a lump, wondering why your DVR failed to record the latest episode of How I Met Your Mother.

I’ve fallen into this trap myself.  I might be spending a bit of time tooling around on Facebook and I see a slew of posts on cool things people are doing and it’s as if I subconsciously roll them into the event of a single person.  Except it’s not a single person.  I am likely looking at a slice in time of 25 different people who are posting something cool they did and it might be their shining highlight of their year, not something that happens to them daily.

While none of us should settle in our lives to some drab, gray existence… there’s also no need to fall into the trap of thinking you are the only one not invited to the party.

The amount you have left to pay on your car loan is inversely proportional to how irrational you will be about getting a new car.

My car is almost paid off.  I don’t need a new car.  My car (2005 Nissan Pathfinder) is great in the snow, lets me crate stuff around (like my Prowler) and while it sucks on gas… did I mention it is almost paid off?

So despite the fact that I am looking forward to having zero car payments, I can barely contain the fanciful thoughts dancing in my head of something like… ohh… you know… this:

BMW 335 in the Fall-10

Completely pointless.  Overpriced.  Unnecessary.  Another vestige of a consumer culture, brand obsession and keeping up with the Joneses.  And completely beautiful.  Damn it.  I wants it.

And yes, these are the random points of nonsense flowing through my head on a snowy winter day in New England.  I know you are now a richer person for having read this.  You’re welcome.