What I find most valuable about Stoicism is that it helps me get out of mental loops (also known as rumination…). The wisdom teaching of Stoicism reminds us that most things are not in our control and thus encourages us to focus on those that are in our control.
The other day, I flirted with depression because I was longing for a loving coupled relationship, fearing that I’d never find one because I seem to have a knack for falling for guys who create unhealthy dynamics. Then I remembered control: I have no control whatsoever over finding someone! (Yes, there is more luck involved in all this than most of us want to admit). Nor do I know what the future holds, so who knows, I might be lucky and meet someone healthier. As my mood lifted, the next obvious question arose: What do I have control over right now? I can create a life that I love instead of longing for something that I have little control over. I have control over bringing more joy into my life, possibly making myself more attractive – and either way I’ll have more joy in my life! I have also control over understanding my patterns of thinking that get me hooked on those guys, something I have explored on this blog before. And I can accept the pain, trauma, and misfortune life has thrown at me as a fact.
Why would my past be a fact? It cannot be changed. No matter how much I wish that my parents had enrolled me in a flamenco, modern, or belly dance class, the fact remains that they didn’t. All I can do now is take those classes and dance. Am I sad that I didn’t learn it earlier? Well, yes, but so what? Again, being sad won’t change anything. I can mourn for a while, then it’s time to let go of all that and look around at what I can do now. That’s all I have control over. The fascinating thing is that when I shift into that understanding, my mood lifts and I have energy!
The title of this post is rather optimistic, btw. I still get lost in thoughts a lot… That’s just how my mind works, I guess. With my increasing body awareness, I sense the impact sooner, though, and remember more often to check out what I am telling myself. Baby step progress 🙂 .