I ask myself a lot of questions.
Lately, I have been asking, “what is the difference between dogma and self-discipline?” The reason for this question is because I lost almost 130 pounds over the past year. I wasn’t sick, it was a choice.
I stuck to a weight-loss program religiously and now that I am re-introducing foods that have been restricted for a whole year, I find myself swinging between a growing paranoia that I will gain all the weight back unless I continue being religiously devoted to the program and the truth that I can’t be perfect every single day of my life, but can make good choices.
Now entering the arena, our first contestant, DOGMA.
In order to understand the differences between dogma and self-discipline, I turn to Wikipedia which says this about dogma: “Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, or by extension by some other group or organization. It is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from, by the practitioner or believers.”
Authoritative. No questions asked. Ever. No room for behavior, emotions, feelings. Perfection in the form of slavery. It is the voice in my mind that says, “you must do exactly what is written or else…” Fear. Paranoia. Revolution.
Dogma’s opponent, cruising to the ring to the dismay of the crowd, our next contestant, SELF-DISCIPLINE.
Wikipedia has this to say about self-discipline: “Self-discipline refers to the training that one gives oneself to accomplish a certain task or to adopt a particular pattern of behavior, even if one would rather be doing something else. For example, denying oneself an extravagant pleasure in order to accomplish a more demanding charitable deed is a display of self-discipline.”
Choice. Questioning my motives for acting. Understanding the foundations of behavior in order to make decisions that break the chains of dogma and lead to freedom. Self-discipline is the debate in my mind that says, “yes, you can have that, but how will that impact what you are doing over here or what you want over there?”
This leads to the important truth that the difference between dogma and self-discipline is as simple as knowing what is truly important to me.
If I do not know the importance of my life’s mission and purpose, my pendulum swings to dogma. However, when I become aware of what it is that I want to accomplish each day, and how important that is for my life and the impact on others, the pendulum swings to self-discipline and I am able to make decisions that lead to freedom.
I end this post with a question: “what is it that is important for me so that I avoid the slavery of dogma and run into the open air of freedom?”
I will let the answer unfold over the next few posts as I reconnect with my life’s purpose and return home.
Until then, choose to be free and fight the good fight each and every day.