Part Two of Week 31
That is the appeal of Stoicism, particularly the Roman variant of it, since it uses one of my greatest strengths in dealing with the darkness. I will run through the methods I learned as it pertains to my biggest issues; however, I encourage you to look into the philosophy itself. One of the first things understands how little control we have in life. All we have is our principles, values, and the choices we make. We interact with people with the same abilities and forces of society and nature. From it a fatalistic nature develops, we cannot change the past or this very instant in time, yet with analysis we can learn from the former and make the most of the current. Using it, we apply it towards making a better future or fall into a pessimistic funk of ‘why bother’.
In dealing with grief, the aim is not to bottle it up with a brave face, instead let it flow, especially right after the fact. However, the way to soothe it afterwards is to imagine a life without the one you lost as if they had never existed. From this moment until the one they came into your life nothing changed. No pictures or memories to look at, if you lived home with mom and a boring life you remove that person where at no time they came into your life as an example. Using it, I deepened the thankfulness that he lived in the first place.
You have likely heard the advice, ‘don’t cry, they wouldn’t want you to be sad.’ It has echoed long ago by the Stoics as well along with a proactive bit of advice for when we inevitably lose another loved one. Occasionally think of losing a person, or thing, how it would hit you; not to depress you but as an inoculation to ease the pain, that comes with the side effects of greater appreciation, living more fully with them/it so you have less regrets.
Then there is the issue of when other people pick at the scab of the healing wound. I found the best option is to not be there, thus saving everyone grief, however that is not always possible if it is the first time. When we interact with them, consider these tools: reflect on how well informed they are since many times people have only half the story. If it is important to you then calmly correct them. Another option requires us to set our egos to the side so we can ask ourselves if they have a valid reason.
Afterwards if they do not, does that person’s opinion really matter? Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words only hurt if you let them. Think about it; is it what someone said or your judgment of it? This can potentially eat us alive, from experience, I tend to carry grudges, and frankly, I am tired of being impatient and pissed off. Anger has the ability to feed itself so it cycles.
Ways to do this is to combat our pessimistic tendency to jump to conclusions. I am the absolutely worst about doing that. I have to catch myself before I let an imaginary argument escalate in my head to where I am pissed off about something that did not even happen. Usually it does not even play out as I imagined in my head. How to work to stop this is to actively listen, do not think about what we want to say until after the other person has finished speaking. This gives us time to cool down, gather information, and deal with it rationally.
The things that anger us are more often than not annoyances that do more harm when we blow it out of proportion. As I wrote above, I am bad about that, usually when dealing with family. Look at the grand scheme or just the few minutes the event took out of the course of the day compared to the rest of it. It can be more amusing in how they act, and our reaction, especially if you can read body language and study human behavior. It also helps to remember when we have gotten on other’s nerves as well, now the shoe is on the other foot.
One of the benefits I have found with this is it puts your ego, the emotional side, in its place. Things that bothered us will not have the same effect as before, which suits me fine. I am tired of dealing with the weight of negative emotions. That is a way others can control us, by triggering us into our emotional side where the thinking part shuts down. Enjoy the good, deal with the bad by minimizing it and enjoy being antifragile.