Robert E. Reichlin, Ph.D.

Houston Psychologist ∙ Psychotherapist ∙ Geropsychologist ∙Bellaire, Texas

Self Care

Friday, May 29th 2009

Today’s post begins a discussion about a general way of thinking about yourself that incorporates wellness, self-discipline, and self-efficacy. Let me define my terms first: wellness refers to being in good physical and emotional health; self-discipline refers to the ability to pursue what you think is right despite temptations to abandon it; and, self-efficacy refers to the sense that you can achieve or accomplish something you want to accomplish. As you can probably see these terms are somewhat circular: to be self-disciplined, it helps to be in good working order; to have the confidence that you can achieve something, it helps to have the ability to stay focused, etc.

But, my guess is that these words are not so easy to bring to life, that we all feel that we fall short on each. I think the reason for this is based on how we are educated as children and how children interpret what they are being taught. From early on we are instructed to be persistent, to practice, practice, practice, to do our homework every day. While it is true that such teaching works (after all, most of us got through school), it may also be true that youngsters hear those instructions as a sort of infinite command followed by a very real finite response; meaning that we come to evaluate ourselves in terms of absolutes. Sort of a ‘do it right or don’t do it’. The problem is that many things can’t be done right every time or even most of the time. Self-discipline seems always out of reach because we expect ourselves always to get it right. So, if you don’t make it to your work out every time then you aren’t very self-disciplined. My experience with this is rather different. The task begins before the activity- we have to plan how we are going to do things that take into account the fact that we are very busy, often fatigued, etc. Setting modest goals, regarding success as defined by showing up rather than always achieving the goal of the activity, and not looking back are pragmatic ways to structure a disciplined activity.

Thanks for reading this post.

If you find that my perspective on self care makes sense to you, and you are considering psychotherapy, send me an email or give me a call and we can schedule an appointment.

Contact Houston Psychologist Dr. Robert Reichlin at 281-813-7202;

Leave a Reply

Robert E. Reichlin, Ph.D.