2016 was a terrible year for me, both personally and professionally. I won’t bore you with the specifics; I’ll let you conjure up scenarios in your mind. They’re probably similar to what you might have faced too; I remember that year was terrible for many people I know. Maybe the stars were at war, I don’t know. But that year, I felt like the universe had some special torture devices under its sleeves for me. And before I knew it, life had me dangling by my ankles.
I’ve often been told I’m pretty strong. But nothing had prepared me for the things that unfurled that year. The strong me had been squashed to a pulp and I was but a hollow vessel. Somehow, I managed to get through a big part of that torture chamber. Otherwise, you probably wouldn’t be reading this. Parts of me are still stuck there, but I’m sure I’ll get out completely. Soon enough. You see, I’ve got some tools up my sleeves too. Now, this comes from no high horse. I’m no life coach. But the tools I’ve found since that year have armed me well. And now, my feet are pretty firm on the ground. It takes a lot more than a wind—perhaps a hurricane—to knock me off my feet and blow me away.
This kind of state even has a name. They call it being ‘stoic’. No, not ‘emotionless’, but more along the lines of ‘strong’. According to the book The Daily Stoic, the philosophy of stoicism, “asserts that virtue (meaning, chiefly, the four cardinal virtues of self-control, courage, justice, and wisdom) is happiness, and it is our perceptions of things—rather than things themselves—that cause most of our trouble.” I can vouch for the truth of this. My life isn’t greatly different from how it was in 2016. But I’ve learnt to tackle the same old issues differently. This learning didn’t come easy. It was a very conscious effort.
So, during my two-year quest to find answers to my problems, I found that grounding, centring, and disengaging from myself made life more manageable. I couldn’t do these out of sheer mind power, of course. Like I said before: I had certain tools at my disposal, and I’d like to share them with you.
I remember I used to feel so weighed down by my problems that I’d let my mind stew in the negativity. I wasn’t grounded. I wasn’t practical. Finding solutions requires just that. I know this now, but before I learnt it, I had no clue how to solve my problems.