Discipline will not do anything useful with [the problem of self-sabotage and self-hatred]. Just the opposite – it will aggravate the issue. Discipline is a form of masochism, a symptom of self-hate, and you can’t eradicate self-hate with more of the same.
And, I suppose, it is because of this that I have such an issue with academic advice. Also, what is the difference between having “discipline” in a positive sense and forcing yourself to do something? Why is it that love notes work so much better to get me to do things than warning notices?
And a related point: we are supposed to produce good products, yet at the same time we are advised to mediocrity. I remember this from school, constantly being told that the most important thing was to make deadlines and avoid controversy. Then, when finally I decided I must make a serious effort at my Ph.D. examination in English to make sure I would pass, I was told I really ought to make that kind of effort more often because my work was very good and people did not know it, since I did not give myself the chance.
Later there was that moment at the ceramics studio where the teacher took me aside and said, you have been improving as slowly as you could manage to do for years, but you have been improving and you are now quite good. You must stop treating your work in such a casual way.
Being good to oneself: something I usually thought was only possible in foreign countries or late at night, when nobody would know I had taken a break from suffering.
Choosing what one likes: something I thought was not possible for me. I thought that for me, the only possibility was choosing what seemed best from a pre-approved list. Also, it seemed to me that my first choice would always be denied, so the key was to choose the second least objectionable activity from the pre-approved list. This is why I have difficulty knowing what I like, or rather how much I like something or not — and to what degree I am doing something by choice, or out of interest in its intrinsic nature.
Waking up in the morning and saying, what can I do for ME today? This, again, is something I normally consider impossible, disallowed, during the day in the United States. In a foreign country were I cannot be seen from here, or while others sleep, I can of course consider these things, and I could here if I were independently wealthy. But I consider that while here and visible, what I must do to survive is prove each day that I am NOT putting myself or my own work first. This, of course, is what must change and this weblog is my form of psychoanalysis and is here to change this very deep training.