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(Photo Contributed By Marlena Groomer)


“Discipline isn’t just punishing, forcing compliance or stamping out bad behavior.  Rather, discipline has to do with teaching proper deportment, caring about others, controlling oneself and putting someone else’s wishes before one’s own when the occasion calls for it.” – Lawrence Balter

I’ve read this a few times and I had to break it down closely because it meant something different each time.  The part that really affected me the most is the last part about “controlling oneself and putting someone else’s wishes before one’s own when the occasion calls for it”.  I think the interpretation and actual application differs from person-to-person based on so many individual factors.  I can appreciate and respect that and I don’t want to go into precise detail or a long diatribe about its meaning to me now since it’s probably different had I read it two years ago.

I guess the difficulty is identifying and defining “when the occasion calls for it” because there are so many variables to sift through before we know it’s time to put someone else’s wishes before our own.  Honestly I really don’t know when that situation is, beyond the obvious, and not knowing how willing I should be to sacrifice my wants or needs temporarily so that I can aid in the fulfillment of someone else’s.

I guess it comes down to the “controlling oneself” aspect that is referred to but maybe with some modification.  I know at this juncture of my life, I am in better “control of myself” so that I can recognize what I am capable of when it comes to any contribution I can provide to others.  I have a better grasp of not only what I can offer someone but also when the circumstance may best call for its presentation, or at least that’s what I tell myself.

I mean really, who is taken seriously when they are perceived as “out of control”?  How much value can be given to any message when the messenger seems lost?  Personally, I’m not even comfortable, confident, or self-assured in what poses as my own “thoughtful” or “wise” advice when I’m so clearly not able to put it into practice on my own!  I suppose it becomes a weighted judgment call depending on the provider and the recipient with both titles often interchangeable depending on the investment and openness of the participants.

It makes sense that I know my best offerings are when I’m adequately connected within the foundation of the brightest regions of my soul.  By no means am I egotistical enough to think that my views have relevance to all people and situations.  If I did, I’d have to reconsider my overall recovery from my injury.  But when there is an independence from the darkest influences from own turmoil, there is a clarity and awareness that gives us the best opportunity to extend whatever guidance and information we’ve acquired to others.  More importantly, it can be given in a more meaningful, genuine, and believable fashion.

I’ve said before that it’s never my intent to serve as preacher, pastor, or prophet about my own approach since I’m continually reexamining it, and I don’t seek conversion to my own personal dogmas.  However, I can absolutely guarantee that there is a considerable amount of substance based on my background, experience, and most importantly, reflections over the last year of the journeys I’ve traveled and what I’ve taken from them.  I’m just some poor sap willing and trying to help because honestly, I’m in a decent place to make the effort right now.

So maybe it’s less a sacrifice but rather a sharing of the the wealth of a utopian existence when it presents itself.  We don’t live in a vacuum!  Accept that we are not only the product of our own creation, but also the contributions and influences of those around us.  When unrestricted from life’s complexities, there is no greater expression of our own inner fulfillment than it’s extension to someone who might be able to utilize it.  Think how grateful you’d be when inevitably the roles end up reversed and we all face similar, unfortunate circumstances.  If we can “put someone’s wishes before one’s own” with the best in us that we can provide, it makes little sense why we shouldn’t!

I’ll end with the words of a remarkable young lady from the past.  “Whoever is happy will make others happy too.” — Anne Frank