2021 didn’t really started well. On the first day of the year I felt sick and intrusive thoughts conquered my mind. And the optimism I had the day before made the situation worst. Also, I realized I’m still not as strong as I supposed to. Things I hoped for started to vanish and my mind started to wander into areas of inadequacy and low self esteem.
What was going on? What about those times when I felt happier? Was it because there was something that I was aware of, that now I was missing, or there was something I wasn’t considering at the time? That’s like to say “Do I have the right to feel bad, because of the things I’m aware of now?”.
Actually, I think all depends on the lens we use to see things. Chemicals in our brain, how we interpret situations, intrusive thoughts… they all shape our mind and how we see the moment we are living. Our attitude play a fundamental role too: it can influence (and be influenced by) our mood.
So, what am I supposed to do right now? Waiting for better days isn’t really an option, ’cause I don’t want to live projected in the future, in an endless loop of waiting: what I learned from Stoicism and meditation is that we should focus on the present moment. That’s where our life is!
There’s an old saying, “Change your thoughts and you’ll change your world” and that’s really accurate. Some things in life (actually most of them) cannot be changed. They happen. You don’t want to, but they happen anyway. You can (and should) try to improve your life, but you cannot base your happiness on external things, on which you have very (if no) control.
What you can do (and I admit it’s not easy) is to try to change your perspective. Just acknowledge that something happened, maybe for some reasons, maybe randomly…who knows! Don’t resist it, try to see the good in that, and if you can, work for fixing it.
So back to the horrible start of this new year. First of all, it wasn’t horrible per se: nothing bad actually happened! I’m alive, I’m not starving, and the things I’m missing now are things that were given to me by fate. Surely one year ago I wasn’t missing them! It’s the same thing that happens when you give a child a toy. It was happy before, but what happens if you take it away from him after you gave it to him? He misses it, he cries, but for no reasons: his life is the same as it was 10 minutes ago.
So, we should stop to label lot of things as “bad”. Ok, some things are not that good, but really, loosing something shouldn’t mean that we should miss it. Things are not going the way you wish they were going? Well, nothing really changed since a few weeks ago, and you weren’t so upset then!
Just focus on what you have!