How self-respect leads to discipline

Take a moment and think of your best friends. What is it about them that you like? If one of them called you and asked for a huge favor – one that would put a bit of a dent in your schedule or pocket book – would you help him or her out? More often than not, you would.

As a matter of fact sometimes, we go to great lengths to not let other people down, but we come up short when it has to do with how we treat ourselves. This month, we are talking about How self-discipline shapes success

1. Love what you do.
2. Like who you are.
3. Respect yourself in others.

Today’s post covers the second of three parts: Like who you are. When we like who we are, we don’t want to let ourselves down.

How do you feel about yourself? Do you like who you are? Some of us treat ourselves like terrible friends. We are disappointed with ourselves. We talk negatively about ourselves. We may spend time with lots of other people so that we avoid having to spend time alone with ourselves.

One of the best ways to establish discipline is to treat ourselves the way we would a treasured friend. The way we treat ourselves is a reflection of our self-respect. When we like ourselves, we believe that we are worth the investment of self-development.

“Respect your efforts, respect yourself. Self-respect leads to self-discipline. When you have both firmly under your belt, that’s real power.” ~ Clint Eastwood

One of the truisms that I’ve learned over the past year or so is that there IS value in the attempt. Your efforts can command respect, regardless of the outcome. Through mindfulness and measurement, you can assess the effectiveness of what you do and then make adjustments accordingly. When you give yourself credit for the things that you do well, you expand upon them. Here are some ways to recalibrate and keep moving forward:

• Pause.
• Breathe.
• Assess.
• Celebrate.
• Start again.

Belittling yourself for trying leads to a self-destructive cycle.

“Self-respect is the fruit of discipline…” ~Abraham J. Heschel

When you begin to establish good habits, you start to like yourself more. Your head clears, and you smile more. Good choices stand out in stark relief and your vision/discernment develops. Paradoxically, by taking baby steps toward better choices, you are able to fortify your self-esteem, which feeds back into greater amounts of discipline. It’s a bit like the chicken and the egg as to which comes first, but both self-respect and discipline exist in tandem.

• Are you kind to yourself?
• Do you take care of your health?
• How do you sleep?
• Is your clothing shabby?
• Your personal hygiene sloppy?

Although these may seem like odd questions, each is an indicator of how much we value ourselves. One of the questions on the participant assessment for Women With Drive Foundation is, “Do you floss?” While this may seem like a trivial question, faithful adherence to flossing indicates an attention to detail, consistent effort in small tasks and a commitment to the care and health of the individual. These skill sets transfer to the ability to save money, attend classes, follow through on administrative banalities and the like…all of which are skills which build independence.

“The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life is the source from which self-respect springs.” ~ Joan Didion

This is the clincher. When we accept responsibility for our life, we begin to see how our choices have consequences. When we identify the variables over which we have control and take ownership of them, our self esteem soars. We now know “how to make our own luck.”

As an exercise, over the next few days, when you are tempted to give up on yourself, literally say aloud,“I am worth the effort to keep going.” Honor and celebrate the fact that your heightened awareness is in itself an achievement. Commit yourself to reaching your goals.

When the going gets really rough, pull on a fuzzy sweater and take a page from Stuart Smalley, who so famously states, “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And doggone it, people like me.

And they do. :)


Molly Cantrell-Kraig is a woman with drive. Possessing an innate sense of purpose and a pragmatic, solution-based approach to empowering people, she fused these two traits in order to establish Women With Drive Foundation. Based upon its founder’s personal history, Women With Drive Foundation is a means through which Cantrell-Kraig may effect change on both a micro and macro level. By providing women with something as essential as personal transportation in order to transition them from poverty to prosperity, she, through Women With Drive Foundation, seeks to empower women to help them help themselves. Through this action, the individual applicant benefits, as does society as a whole. Follow Molly on twitter as @mckra1g or @WWDr1ve (Women With Drive)


  1. says

    Be who you are, nobody else has that job and nobody else can do it better than you.

    You don’t have to apply for that position, you are automatically hired and you don’t have to prove that you can do this job well to anyone at all because you are always the boss.

    Thank you Molly, this is a great way to think about the most important ideas of our lives.

    • molly says

      Thanks so much for your great comment, Stephen! Being ‘the CEO of You, Inc.,” is an empowering way to view our efforts. :)

  2. says

    This is a great reminder that others can bring you down ONLY if YOU let them. Believe in yourself; aim high and go after those dreams and make them a reality. Keep your head high, smile and say: “I got this!”

    Having a ton of regrets and doubts at old age is not the way any of us should live.

  3. Kate says

    It’s interesting to me to note —and this is coming from someone who once had to be told that there was dirt under her nails, and holes in her clothes so she could look appropriate in a meeting with worldwide accolmished executives — that I only could understand that self respect meant taking care of yourself when I thought of MYSELF as a gift I’ve been given that I or ME should take care of. Then, everything made sense: how grateful I became.

    I hope it helps someone else that, like I once did, thinks that self respect has nothing to do with taking care of yourself.

    I’ll leave it up to those that it may resonate with to see why the connection can be made.

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