The biggest lessons I always get (or at least am reminded of again and again) out of negative episodes, is that the more I fixate on the problem, the more I prolong it.
It’s becomes a negative feedback loop, that eventually spirals out of control.
I can obsess about thinking myself out of the problem. But it just exaggerates it.
Accepting the problem, and embracing the negative episodes, is quite literally a skill.
The ability to transcend the discomfort or pain.
It’s essential for achieving anything.
Life is suffering. That’s the Buddha’s first noble truth.
Learning to transcend and operate from a place beyond it allows us the capacity to overcome it, and find some joy or peace.
It’s like the only way to avoid suffering is… do nothing. Say nothing. Be nothing.
But I feel like you still end up suffering.
Every choice has a risk. Even no choice.
Also, there are those (myself included) who attempt to eliminate suffering by control.
This can lead to neurosis. You can’t control everything, and you can’t control people. No matter how sophisticated your plan. Life is unpredictable.
And there are those who try to eliminate suffering by surrendering control. They avoid conflict. They retreat into a comforting place, away from the chaos, where they find equilibrium.
I do think that having the courage to confront conflict head on, and engage with problems and the world, is where personal growth and the source of strength is cultivated.
I think those situations teach you wisdom about what you can control and what you can’t, and how to optimize your attitude and approach for each.
I think gaining distance from thoughts, feelings, and states of being are crucial for any intelligent change.
Meditation. Personal reflection. Journaling. Objectively discussing these situations, with trusted confidants, or in therapy.
They instigate self awareness.
If you aren’t self aware, you’re a hostage to these unconscious habits and drives and primal reactions.
Stepping back. Gaining perspective. Seeing your “self”.
Quieting the conscious “noise”. The mess of feelings and reactionary thoughts and tangled attention.
Allowing the unconscious to achieve space to reveal itself.
What’s really going on here? Who is that? Why is that?
Then you can change behaviors, thoughts and feelings about things, which allow you to escape from the habituated patterns of mind that thrust you into the same dilemmas time and time again, and set in motion a new chain of events that produce a different set of outcomes.
Which you likewise must inevitably wrestle with.
The process of self development. Self mastery. Purification.