Finding My Truth and the Stages of My Discovery — Stage One.
If you have read my story about how ridiculously crappy the last 18 months have been for me and my journey towards acceptance, you would know that I have had quite some time to do a lot of soul-searching, reading, and self-discovery in that time. I have also lost relatives; few of whom died at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic both home and abroad. At each turn of events, I have had to stop and truly examine everything that I’ve come to believe; religious beliefs, life philosophies, and mantra, health, love, romance, family, friendship, work, the choice to bear children….in fact, every facet of my life has come under intense personal scrutiny of my mind’s microscope.
Introspection is such a difficult thing to do because it exposes the cracks you try so hard to cover-up on a daily basis — flaws and all- for you to see yourself for what you really are. Despite the pain of this process, I am very grateful for the events that led me down this road because I feel like I’m finally living deliberately and consciously rather than existing within the confines of an opaque metaphorical box that has imprisoned my mind for decades.
I have always wondered what people mean when they say things like, “I’m living my truth” or “Allow me to speak my truth” but I think I understand it now. As tired and cliche as these statements may sound, they’re really about searching for what the truth means to you and living authentically by that truth as opposed to gobbling down everything and anything that comes within a hair’s breadth of your brain waves. However, these words shouldn’t just be uttered because it’s a “cool” or “hip” thing to say but because you’re on the path of truth, consistently putting in the work to find what this means to you and living by this truth and nobody else’s.
“Of all people, only those are at leisure who make time for philosophy, only they truly live. Not satisfied to merely keep good watch over their own days, they annex every age to their own. All the harvest of the past is added to their store. ” — Seneca
Stage 1: Acceptance & Stoicism
My truth-seeking journey began when I was wondering if there’s a way to just accept the things that I’ve experienced for what they are and live every day as it comes without any expectations or much emotional self-battery for not being strong enough to bear the pain/trauma. I also thought a lot about the reason for suffering and the lessons that can be learned from misfortunes that we face in life. So, I tapped away at my keyboard, going down the rabbit hole of several Google searches, and I found three gems:
- Nietzsche’s ‘Amor Fati’ — Love of Fate. In fact, I’m getting a tattoo of this soon.
- Seneca’s famous quote on lessons learned from facing adversity, “You have passed through life without an opponent, no one can ever know what you are capable of, not even you.”
- Epictetus’s personal advice to me (in my head of course), “Do not seek for things to happen the way you want them to; rather, wish that what happens happens the way it happens: then you will be happy.”
As much as it’s difficult to just “love” the B.S. that life keeps handing me and “turning the other cheek”, I still see the value in just taking life in its stride, things as they come, and being open enough to learn a few things from these experiences in addition to appreciating that life is what it is. Life is full of ups and downs, joys and pains, births, and deaths. We come and we go, it is what it is and Stoic philosophy is helping me understand and accept the tides as they come as opposed to fighting the natural pattern of things.
My advice? Go with the flow, make mistakes, learn from them, think, ask questions, strive to be better, be good to yourself and others. When life knocks you down, cry for as long as you feel like it but always get up, dust yourself off, smile, or better yet laugh, then keep it moving.