“We are in the habit of exaggerating, or imagining, or anticipating sorrow.” – Seneca
If we listen to people as we converse with them – and we should be listening to them – we will discover that many of us choose to define our selves by our problems. We choose to allow our hardships to be the things that we focus on and share with others.
A large part of this is that we often also choose to process and think about our hardships as things that we can somehow exert some control over, so we focus on them, then we become frustrated by them because they do not respond to our attempts to gain control, then we double down our focus, then these things seem to dominate our lives.
Instead of even focusing on our problems or the bad things we are dealing with, we should be focusing on how we are reacting to the things – good and bad – that are happening in our lives. We should be working on our ability to detach and discipline our emotions. We should be thinking about how we are acting in a situation and how we are going to change our actions to accommodate the things that are happening around us.
And if we focus on those things, we won’t have time to focus on what the problems are doing to us because we’ll be too busy actually solving our own problems.
virtus fortis vocat