Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

A Dose Of Stoicism

Many of us spend huge parts of our days daydreaming about the future and what could be. We fantasize about having better looks, staying young and wrinkle-free, having a close group of loving friends, being more confident and charismatic, and having all our dreams and aspirations come true.

What we ultimately want from life is a comfortable but exciting ride. Nothing too scary, nothing too dull. 

But the universe is a fickle teammate. She does as she pleases.

So you will in all likelihood have some physical imperfections, befriend some disappointing people, have all sorts of insecurities, fall short of your ambitions, and you will most definitely grow old and check out. (I’m going to roll me and my wheelchair into an active volcano.)

Life will make things hard. No amount of resisting will change that. 

In fact, it’ll probably make you feel much worse. Because now you’re not only dealing with your upsetting life circumstances, but also your upsetting thoughts and feelings about the circumstances. A double whammy.

So what do you do?

If you could have asked Roman Emperor and stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius, he’d have probably said in flawless modern-day English:

You stop wanting things to be different and accept what’s going on. This doesn’t mean you like what’s happening and want it to continue. It means you understand that struggling with reality will only increase your suffering. So you might as well give it room to be and choose the best course of action next.

Accepting comes first. Wanting comes after.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach