For almost 2 years we’ve all been scrambling, in one way or another, to grasp onto a sliver of the normal we knew, but this moment is the closest we will be to normal ever. The world will never be the same again.
One thing is for sure, although what crosses our path and our circumstance many times may be out of our control, how we respond to life and what we do with the cards we’ve been dealt with are in our control. Do we acknowledge reality as it is and despite it having been a terrible couple of years we can still accept that this is where we are and look ahead? Acceptance doesn’t mean you are happy with your current reality but rather instead of getting into a cycle of hopelessness, we instead feel empowered to make a decision and step forward.
However, sometimes things aren’t that straightforward and you genuinely can’t change your reality no matter how much energy you put behind it and in these instances the question becomes “what work do I need to do internally to get to a place of acceptance?” One of the basic psychological principles of Stoicism outlines that “It’s not events that upset us but rather our opinions about them.” This principle is also some of the basis of cognitive behavioural therapy. In this pandemic for instance, recently I’ve been getting frustrated with the inconsiderate actions of others, however I’m realising it’s more about my patience running thin than about what they are doing.
In Stoicism there is a saying that “fear does us more harm than the things of which we’re afraid.“, and I think in many ways consuming these unexpected and overwhelming world events are doing us more harm. We fear the unknown, the unexpected and I don’t know if you’ve noticed but it seems there is an increase in injustice, in inhumanity and violence, and I think this is the devastating effect of fear is how it chips away at our morals and values until all we know is to further our own selves.
Today is as normal as it is getting, and how do we build lives that ensure that adversity and tough times don’t destroy us? If one thing is for sure it’s that we will die, I think the one of the greatest things we can work towards that time is acceptance of self. Life doesn’t go on forever, and I think this pandemic has held our minds hostage for long enough. I’m still figuring out what my new world looks like but I do know I have list of things I want to do, feel, see, experience before my time comes to an end so I accept that right now my responsibility is to live fully (and responsibly).