Self-Mastery, Self-Motivation, & Self-Care: The Holy Grail of Happiness & Joy
On the road to having a LIFE that you LOVE, your ability to manage yourself, motivate yourself and take care of yourself (self-care) are the holy grail of happiness and joy in my view. There is an intricate relationship between these three areas as I will cover. Before I dive in, I am asking you to read this particular post with LOVE of yourself in mind. I am asking that you do not read this post and say to yourself, “Oh, great – something else I am not doing, or not good at, or…” or some other negative, self-defeating thought. I invite you to read this post with the curiosity and wonder of a child saying to yourself instead, “Oh, let’s explore what new things there are for me to consider on my journey to a happy life.” Use the content of this post to say to yourself – how can I start making my life better? What is one thing I can start doing now? Use this as an opportunity for self-assessment and growth – not to beat yourself up for what you are not doing.
The concept of self-mastery, which is defined as self-control, self-discipline, or the ability to control one’s own desires or impulses, has been written about since man’s earliest days. Epictetus (Greek Stoic philosopher born 50 AD – died 135 AD) is credited with saying: “No person is free who is not master of himself”. The Greek philosopher Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) is quoted as stating: “The hardest victory is the victory over self.” Author Napoleon Hill wrote about it in his 1937 book Think and Grow Rich -a book I highly recommend. It’s still being written about as I write this.
Self-mastery is important if you want to have a happy life. From my perspective, self-mastery has at least 4 components. I don’t know what anyone else has to say about it, but this is what makes sense to me as I deconstruct something that I have been good at for a long time. I have written a great deal about the individual items listed in this post so I won’t repeat myself with explanations. I sincerely doubt that anyone who doesn’t take care of themselves can attain self-mastery because they are woven together in my view. The same goes for coping strategies or mechanisms. You could attain some level self-mastery, again in my opinion, without necessarily understanding what stops you but it seems unlikely to me that you could really have self-mastery without understanding yourself to the level of knowing what stops you. But then, what do I know? What I know is the more LOVE you put into your LIFE in any capacity, any form, any amount – the better your life will feel.
Favorite pillow! Of course, it says LOVE!
I’m starting with this first because I think it is a helpful place to start. Many people have never thought about what stops them in life. I find it a powerful place to look every now and again. This is not a comprehensive list, but a good general list.
We all understand that I am not a therapist, so here’s my take on coping skills or mechanisms based on experience. How you cope with life is very important, yet it is not a topic that we typically talk about unless you are in therapy or a group therapy session. We see the by-product of a lack of coping skills or mechanisms in our societal problems today. We have the escalating rate suicide of our youth, obesity across all ages including very young children, drug and alcohol addictions as well as other problematic behaviors. It seems pretty clear to me that, as a whole, we are not too good at coping skills. Life is hard. We know that. Bad stuff happens. Coping skills can make the tough times more manageable. Frankly, really rock-solid coping skills can see you through trauma or even multiple concurrent traumas. I only learned about coping skills or mechanisms in late 2018 when I was told that I didn’t need therapy because there was nothing wrong with me because while I have endured a long-standing trauma, I have amazing and very strong coping skills or mechanisms.
A card I designed many years ago, still one of my favorite quotes.
This is a critical aspect of self-mastery in my opinion because taking care of yourself is extremely important if you want to be happy and healthy and have a LIFE that you LOVE. I have witnessed people work themselves almost to death, saying that they can’t take time for themselves because they have too much to do, and they are lifeless. They are unhappy. They have lives with no joy. And they did it to themselves although they can’t see that. Some people take better care of their cars than they do of their bodies and minds. It’s a combination of taking care of your physical body, your emotions and your mental state – those three aspects need to be cared for. We don’t drive our cars for 24 hours a day and expect them to keep working. Our vehicles get to sit in the garage overnight or at least for X number of hours. Yet, we charge at life, eating junk food, drinking soda, not getting enough sleep, working without playing and we wonder why we are not happy. It’s no wonder so many people are unhappy. I am not saying, by the way, that you can’t eat junk food. Everything in moderation. You just should eat enough healthy foods to allow for the periodic less than healthy foods and beverages.
You can work self-care into your daily routine. At least that’s how I do it. I know that I function much better when I have stayed true to the things that work for me. There are other things that qualify as self-care, but I think that this list is enough to get you started.
One of my recent rewards was making a white scarf, which made me happy.
If I put this into an “If/Then/Else Do” loop, it might look like this… (Haha on me that I am even attempting such a thing). At least I am chuckling.
One of my all-time favorite sayings is “Carpe diem”, which translates roughly to seize the day. Given that, I must include an ancient quotation from Horace, one of the leading Latin lyric poets and satirists under emperor Augustus (Born December 65 BC – Died November 8 BC):
“Carpe diem! Rejoice while you are alive; enjoy the day; live life to the fullest; make the most of what you have. It is later than you think.” – Horace
That pretty much sums up my life philosophy or part of it anyway. There is no time like the present. Live life with no regrets. Do what you can to help your fellow man – any time you can, any place you can, in any way you can. Be clear on what you want out of life. Take actions commensurate with your goals and desires. Be unstoppable. But above all – get to know yourself because that is where the real power in life is. Understand what makes you tick. The better you get to know yourself and how you operate, the more control and power you will have over your own life. The less people can push your buttons. The less anxiety and stress you have.
One day at a time – do what you can. I am here to love you through this process. And, trust me it is a process. It won’t happen overnight. It won’t happen in a week or two. But bit-by-bit, if you do the work you will reap the benefits. Please let me know how I can support you with your self-mastery, self-motivation, self-care, and life in general!
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