Woman trying to push her own self

When we stop to consider it, there are no two less likely pairings than ‘compassion’ and ‘self-discipline’. Together, they border on being oxymoronic. Compassion evokes kindness, empathy, appreciation and caring, while self-discipline evokes the opposite: rigidity, harshness, disdain, and judgement.

For many, self-discipline would be a rather dreary and uninspiring topic, but if we reframe self-discipline as self-mastery, the tone and focus changes. Suddenly, we are in the lofty world of Rumi, Lao Tzu, the Bhagavad Gita and Buddha! Here is what they have to say on the subject.

Be victorious over yourself and not over others. When you attain
victory over yourself, not even the gods can turn it into defeat.

Those who have conquered themselves...
live in peace, alike in cold and heat, pleasure and pain, praise and blame...
To such people a clod of dirt, a stone, and gold are the same...
Because they are impartial, they rise to great heights
The Bhagavad Gita

Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power
Lao Tzu

Let’s ask God to help us in self-control,
for one who lacks it lacks His grace. 

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A version of this was first published in the January 2014 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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