This is the face of a person that is in a much better place than this time last year. For me 2018 felt like a blur. I was simply going through the motions of daily life without any real sense of what I was doing and why.
A lot of things went wrong last year, but the biggest was that I could not get out of my funk. Some would say that I was having a mid-life crisis. Others would say that I was burned out. And those awful words of “i don’t want to be on this earth” came out of my mouth. More than once.
I turned to many different things to try and climb out of this hole of darkness and lift the weight of depression or this feeling of being lost from my body. But nothing was working.
I read up on Stoicism. I read through “The Obstacle is the Way.” And I connected with everything I read – except I could not put any of it into action.
I had no sense of purpose. Why am I here? What am I doing?
And I was getting no enjoyment out of life. It did not matter that I was traveling to fabulous places for work or that my business was actually doing fairly well. My health was good. I was happy with my physical being and my performance in the gym.
But for every high – there were multiple lows. I questioned EVERY choice I was making. I second-guessed the hell out of everything. Did I make the right choice? Should I do this or that? My confidence levels were the lowest of my adult life.
I know. We’ve all been there to some extent. But I could not get away from it. I carried this cloud of disillusionment with me EVERYWHERE. It ruined every vacation I took. It took away my smile. My laugh. My feelings of joy. My feelings of excitement. My kindness.
But at some point that cloud of despair (and I apologize for all of these cheesy references – but they work) lifted.
It lifted because I finally realized that I was the only person that could change the direction of this path. A virtual slap in the face.
Yes, I bought every self-help book out there – many (maybe most) of them unread. I am now the proud owner of at least 10 different journals – many which remain in their boxes.
But I took the steps to change something. To recognize that something was not working and that I had the ability to shift my mindset and set a new direction.
I learned and finally accepted what I could CONTROL.
MY thoughts. MY actions. Not what was happening with the weather or the airlines or anything that was out of my control.
I decided if I wanted to smile and be kind and be honest and work hard. I decided how I would act, if I would exercise, what social events I would attend or when to say no.
I was in control of my stress levels. I was in control of asking for help.
And I was in control of what types of relationships I wanted to have with my husband, my family, my friends, my co-workers, etc.
If I learned nothing else from Stoicism it is this:
” differentiating between what we can change and what we can’t. What we have influence over and what we do not. “
And it has made all the difference.
Simple truths that make so much sense but are also some of the most difficult to put into practice.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a strange mixture of a Type A personality (A temperament characterized by excessive ambition, aggression, competitiveness, drive, impatience, need for control, focus on quantity over quality and unrealistic sense of urgency) – and and smart ass.
And if you really want to get to know me, read the characteristics of my personality type ENTP (Extravert, iNtuitive, Thinking, Perceiving) – you will find it is a fairly accurate assessment of me.
So I leave where I started this at the beginning. I am in a much better place, with a much better outlook and a much happier disposition that a year ago.
I am still learning to “roll with the punches”, but I think long and hard about getting worked up over something that I have no power to change.
I encourage you to do the same.
Photo Credit: Tina Leu