5 Tips From Philosophy To Remember When Everything Goes Wrong
Sometimes life goes wrong. Unexpectedly. Adversity hits us with all its force until we are dejected. Our world collapses and we run out of handholds. We feel that nothing we do can change things. The trigger can be a health problem, a broken heart, or a setback in our career.
We all go through stages like this in life. In those moments it is difficult to find something positive and few things are of consolation. However, giving in to hopelessness and despair will sink us even further . We need a lifeline to hold onto to get afloat. Ancient philosophy can be that beacon that illuminates us in the midst of the storm and gives us the strength we need to get ahead.
When everything goes wrong, your thinking and your attitude will decide the way
1. The current evil will not last forever
“ The misfortune ends up subsiding. The winds do not always blow from the same quadrant or with equal force ”, wrote Euripides.
This great Greek poet, tireless explorer of the human soul, knew that when we are suffering or chaining one setback after another, it is easy to fall into pessimism, but we must realize that sooner or later the tables will turn .
In life we go through good and bad stages. Assuming that things will not get better and that they will always go wrong is a trap set by our negativity bias . We have a tendency to focus on the negative things that can harm us and we attach so much importance to them that we are blindfolded, preventing us from seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
Therefore, no matter how bad we are, we must be aware that what we are feeling at this moment is transitory , it will not accompany us throughout life. That certainty will give us the strength we need to weather the storm and endure a little longer. When we can look beyond pain, loss, or setbacks, we can once again see life through a more positive lens.
2. Each struggle contains the seed of growth
" Every tear teaches mortals a truth, " said Plato.
Despite the fact that suffering is not welcome in our lives, this philosopher was convinced that it is a means of becoming aware that we need to continue evolving.
He considered it a sting that drives us to progress as it forces us to leave our comfort zone to explore new territories and expand our limits. In fact, sometimes the problems are that push we need to change and leave behind the ballast of the past or the bad habits that led us precisely to the black hole in which we find ourselves.
Platonic suffering, therefore, is not empty but full, and rewards those who accept it as a "teacher of life." Who has fallen and got up is much stronger than who has never fallen. Facing losses, failures, and disappointments tests us, but it also shows us our strength .
The resilience is forged in difficult situations, that emanates from them confidence that, whatever happens and whatever the cost, we will be able to get up again . Therefore, when we are having a hard time, it is worth remembering that this experience can strengthen us for the future and prepare us to better face the problems that will come.
3. Every effort counts, no matter how small
" A huge tree grows from a tender sapling, a nine-story tower begins with a handful of earth, a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, " Lao-Tzu wrote.
Steeped in the culture of haste and immediacy, Buddhist philosophy emphasizes patience and perseverance . It encourages us to focus on the little things, go little by little, without breaking our rhythm, constantly.
Sometimes when we hit rock bottom, it's hard to recover. We may feel that we are swimming upstream and that our efforts are not bearing fruit. When we do not advance at the pace we would like, we despair and distress . Then learned helplessness can ensue , we give up because we think our efforts are useless and so we end up falling even deeper.
To counteract this trend, we must be aware that every effort, no matter how small, counts and helps us get out of this situation . We must also accept that although setbacks and relapses are tough, they are part of the process . Evolution is not an ascending straight line but a spiral where evolution and regression intertwine. This vision will allow us to value each of our steps and not be discouraged on bad days.
4. Concerns, the just
“ There are more things that can scare us than crush us ; we suffer more often in imagination than in reality, ”wrote Seneca.
Stoicism is the quintessential philosophy of peace of mind and non-concern. Seneca, one of its highest representatives, said: “ some things torment us more than they should; others torment us before we arrive, and others torment us when they should not torment us at all. We have the habit of exaggerating, imagining or anticipating sadness.
When we're going through a bad time, it's easy to obsess over painful events . We get stuck regurgitating what was and what could be. So we end up feeding the storm winds, not realizing that those worries will get us nowhere, but only serve to add additional weight, which will become increasingly difficult to bear.
Therefore, instead of worrying about things that are beyond our control, we must take a more pragmatic perspective and focus on what we can really control. As Marco Aurelio, another great Stoic, said, “ you have power over your mind, not over events. Realize this and you will find strength ”.
5. It is natural not to feel good all the time
“ It is illness that makes health pleasant; the bad, the good; hunger, satiety; fatigue, rest ”, said Heraclitus.
The message of this Greek philosopher collides with a society that continually extols the positive and well-being, so it is understandable that we have stopped perceiving suffering and discomfort as natural states of life .
However, Heraclitus believed that we cannot escape adversity because it is the other side of luck, just as we cannot avoid suffering because it is the other side of happiness. One does not exist without the other. However, he also believed that in the end, reality resolves itself into a harmonious unity - not without opposing tensions.
It is obvious that we all want to feel good as soon as possible, but when we are bad and we recriminate ourselves for feeling down or defeated, it is likely that we end up hating ourselves for not being well. Instead, we must allow ourselves time to process grief and loss, without beating ourselves up for it or feeling frustrated that those feelings don't go away as quickly as we want them to.