by Naila Sheikh
It would be quite accurate to call me an eternal optimist. One that is always positive or seeks for positivity despite the circumstances and situations that occur in life. Now, it would be untrue to assume that this optimism was not derived from seeing negative aspects in life. Furthermore, the assumption that a joyous and smiling person must have it easy, without complications and hardships, is a common misconception in our society as we tend to judge books by their covers, or in today’s technological times – their social media posts, right?
My philosophies that make up most of my thought process as I try to tackle certain harsh truths and inconveniences life has to offer may be different in tactic than your approach. However, I have experienced that a successful result is mostly accomplished through a strong mindset; the ability to transform yourself – within yourself.
Acknowledging what we can and cannot control is the first step to understanding our capability within a certain situation. Of more than thirty years of living on this Earth, by seeing the ups and downs, witnessing a loss, tragedy and uncertain times, whether it be in my world or the world we perceive around us, it suffices to say that I can offer my two cents on how to maintain sanity.
[Read Related: Moving Forward: 10 Vital Lessons I Learned From the Past]
Perhaps most of it is romanticized through my eyes to stray away from bitterness and cynicism. No matter how hard the world tries to pull you into this chaotic whirlpool, one must always stand strong. I will have to elaborate the word “strong,” as it can be defined in different ways.
Strength is an enigma in itself; it can strip us of our superpowers if we overuse our powers in overconfidence, trying to preserve our inner pride. The kind of strength that I believe is helpful in one’s transformation lies in the roots of humility – in the core of our soul where we are the most vulnerable and most “human”.
It is indeed a skill to contemplate and question ourselves in a time where giving thought to too much ‘fuss’ is considered a waste of time. However, this ‘fuss’ is vital to your survival and peaceful living, if you are keen on skipping unnecessary drama, that is. The very function of a thought process truly fascinates me. Now here’s why:
- Your thoughts are within yourself. Meaning; your anger, sadness, joy or any visualization you may have, is created within you, BY you. Therefore, it is also controlled by you.
- You might argue that your thoughts are influenced by your surroundings and scenarios you face, which I completely agree with, but for the most part, YOU are the director of your own script, your own movie. You are free to edit, cut and paste whatever you like or dislike.
- A bit naive you think? I understand. I may also argue that it is a smart strategy to not ignore your issues (of course) but to compartmentalize that particular issue by filing it under a certain category. Does it fall under Family? Friends? Work? Love?
- Once you are done organizing your brain for its proper functions, you will feel lighter, having separated the controllable from the uncontrollable, so that things are much clearer from now on.
- No control? What to do now? I say cry it out. Lean on your best friend’s shoulder and vent. Only rely on your closest friends whom you can entirely trust with your heart and soul and who know how to listen rather than talk over you. Meditation, prayers and exercise can work wonders too. LET. IT. OUT.
- You see, our brain works in beautiful order if we let it be; make your thoughts your best buddy, your only confidante. Heck, pep talk to yourself. You are a wonderful person. You are beautiful, intelligent and capable of conquering the world. You can do anything.
- The things we CAN control? Train your brain into making lists of what is good for you or what tends to have a negative influence on you. Acknowledge and accept. Then, make your decision. Once the decision is made – DO NOT LOOK BACK. You will have to move on. You owe it to yourself and your sanity.
Self-contemplation is a beautiful process as it awakens many senses and upon activity, can bring help you come to your own conclusions about your dilemmas in life. It is a very, very powerful tool of the mind and can only make one stronger. To be less reliable on outside sources and to make judgments based on your intentions and intuitions, originating from moral goodness, is indeed the right kind of STRENGTH.
An ancient practice of Greek philosophers urging the youngsters of society to develop insight and act out of virtue may have been dismissed and sentenced to death by their very own people, but their wisdom still holds true to this day.
“An Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living”
Socrates Greek Philosopher
At His Trial
470 BC – 399 BC