For much of my life, discipline was paramount. I strived to get good grades, be in good shape, be more moral. And then as I kept pressuring myself to be better, I’d burn out.
Then, I’d strive toward self-care and leniency. I’d let myself not study so hard. I’d have that extra scoop of ice cream. But then too much leniency led to habits that weren’t helpful for me over the long term. I realized the joy that can come from the less immediately gratifying things in life. And so I’d veer back toward discipline.
I know now that my growth isn’t about being more disciplined or practicing more self-care, or about becoming more of any one thing at all. My growth is in acknowledging that every value I hold dear has an equally important opposite. I grow when I learn to love and feed them both – in balance and at the same time.