Overcome Yourself

“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.”

Aristotle

Greek Philosopher

Healing is a journey, not a destination. You won’t arrive anywhere or wake up someday thinking, “I did it, I’m healed.” Know this.

Life is about evolving, adapting, and changing. What you’ve learned so far in your life are the skills you developed to survive Some of them have been great, some of them have hurt you beyond imagination. Like the skill to sit silent when you should be screaming.

Not even stone is set in stone. Everything fades over time, into dust and finally into nothing. Even you. This is for anyone whose found themselves tired of pretending, faking it through, walking it off, or putting a mask on because it’s easier. You are who you are so accept it, learn to love all of it, and help yourself.

I’m not a religious man, I have no faith in spiritual or mystical beings, and I’ve thus far found no reason to believe in an afterlife. We’re simple, fragile beings on a planet circling a star spinning through the dead, dark cold of space. Dealing with life through that lens is the most freeing thing I can think of.

This page is, like me, a work in progress. Check back for updates if you found something useful. Let me know if you have something to share.

Who Is This For?

I know there are men out there who have lived a life similar to mine but just can’t seem to get on the path to living a life truer to themselves. Lost in a shell, pretending your way through, always hoping the future will somehow be better. A lot of men stick around because people depend on them to stay and that’s a sad truth.

I’m part of a Facebook group for fathers who’ve lost children. The stories on there are crushing. Recently a couple members ended their lives and that hits close to home. I remember the times I was there, thinking to myself that just disappearing forever would be the least painful thing to do. My wife saved me, can’t lie about it. She’s amazing and she held me through hell and back. It’s easier to heal in the company of unconditional love.

There are also days when I feel the sun on my face and I can’t believe I’m in a place of healing and peace.

The worst part of my journey on this earth is in the past and there are better days ahead, if I allow them to be better days. Should losing a child turn me bitter forever? Leave me angry for the rest of my life? I thought it would, but it didn’t.

I found reasons to laugh at the simplest things, to see flowers bloom with a different set of eyes, and to understand the value of love. Life goes on and every day you get is a precious gift. Treat it like that.

Life Is About Lessons, Not Rules

Whether you love it or hate it, it’s your life. Every lesson you learned along the way has become who you are. Some of those lessons really sucked, but if you learned from them and they helped you grow – let the shitty part of them go. Bitterness serves no one and it poisons only you.

While you are alive there are always lessons to be learned. Surrender to the drumbeats of life, don’t struggle against them. Commit to constant learning and change – be humble and acknowledge your weaknesses, and be flexible enough to adapt, because rigidity will deny you the freedom of new possibilities.

Be grateful for and enjoy what you have, and where you are on your journey. Appreciate the abundance of what’s good in your life. Don’t measure yourself and amass things that do not actually lead to happiness. Living in the present helps you attain peace. Make a conscious effort to be here, in the real world.

You love or hate something about another person according to what love or hate about yourself. Be tolerant; accept others as they are, and strive for self-awareness; strive to truly understand and have an objective perception of your own self, your thoughts and feelings. Negative experiences are opportunities to heal the wounds that you carry and grow.

You have everything you need. What you do now is up to you. Take responsibility for yourself. Learn to let go when you cannot change things. Don’t get angry – bitter memories clutter your mind. Courage resides in all of us – use it when you need to do what’s right for you.

Trust your instincts and your innermost feelings, whether you hear them as a little voice or a flash of inspiration. Listen to feelings as well as sounds. Look, listen, and trust. Draw on your natural inspiration. Remember the wonder of childhood and who you were.

Our early experiences lead us into a physical world, away from our true selves, so that we become doubtful, cynical and lacking courage or confidence. Have faith in the strength of your spirit. Aspire to be wise – wisdom is the ultimate path of your life, and it knows no limits other than those you impose on yourself.

Give yourself a chance.

A good way to ground yourself in through the study of philosophy. I put together an introduction to The Philosophy of Stoicism.

Warning Signs

The signs and symptoms of a mental health condition will depend on the type, but there are some symptoms to look out for. These include:

  • aggressiveness, anger, and irritability
  • changes in mood or energy levels
  • changes in appetite or sleeping habits
  • difficulty focusing
  • feeling restless or “on edge”
  • a high consumption of alcohol
  • inappropriate use of drugs
  • participating in risky activities
  • feeling sad, hopeless, numb, or emotionally “flat”
  • having aches, pains, or other physical symptoms without a clear cause
  • obsessive or compulsive thoughts or behaviors
  • thinking or acting in a way that causes concern to others or has a negative impact on work, social, or family life
  • thinking about or attempting suicide

If you notice these symptoms in yourself or in a loved one, it is a good idea to talk or seek help.

Resources

Molestiae sequi nam quidem corporis vel amet ipsatam ut unde amet sed tempor.

“No man is free who is not master of himself.”

Epictetus, Greek Stoic
“If you are depressed you are living in the past, if you are anxious you are living in the future, if you are at peace, you are living in the present.”
Lao Tzu, Chinese Taoist Philosopher

“One whose chief regard is for his own mind, and for the divinity within him and the service of its goodness, will strike no poses, utter no complaints, and crave neither for solitude nor yet for a crowd. Best of all, his life will be free from continual pursuing and avoiding.”

Marcus Aurelius , Roman Emperor

Get Lost In Philosophy

Learn how the Ancient Stoics lived a grounded life.

If you’re like me, you watched the movie Gladiator and thought there’s some pretty cool shit in there. Marcus Aurelius was a Roman Emperor and a Stoic philosopher. He passed on writings for living a good and virtuous life and they are as relevant today as they were 2,000 years ago.

Philosophy can help ground you in reality and it’s worth studying. Grounding yourself is the most freeing thing I can think of so ground yourself in truth, in what is right, and in what is just.

Philosophy is timeless.

Zeno, the ancient Greek founder of Stoicism, describes embodying the four cardinal virtues as simply ‘living in agreement’ — agreement with ourselves, agreement with circumstances outside of our control, and agreement with the nature of the cosmos.

Wisdom

Understanding the world and successfully navigating its complexity. Thousands of years of information is easily available to the world. You have the power to learn anything you want at your fingertips. So today, honour the Stoic virtue of wisdom by slowing down, being deliberate, and finding the wisdom you need. Question everything and never allow yourself to become a part of something that isn’t open to debate or reason.

Courage

Standing up for what’s right, both for yourself and your community. When we think of courage we think of men storming a beach, but, as the movie Gladiator reminds us, there are many forms of courage.

Like the courage to break a self-destructive cycle like being a shitty father. Have the courage to love yourself.

Justice

Justice in this context means treating yourself and others with respect and dignity and standing up for what is right and true. There is no Stoic virtue more important than justice, because it influences all the others.

Temperance

Temperance is the knowledge that abundance comes from having what is essential. The Stoics often used temperance interchangeably with “self-control.” Self-control, not just towards material goods, but self-control, harmony, and good discipline always—in pleasure or pain, admiration or contempt, failure or triumph. Temperance is guarded against extremes, not relying on the fleetingness of pleasure for happiness nor allowing the fleetingness of pain to destroy it.

Know Yourself

Aristotle said that, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” I think loving yourself is.

Know Your Beliefs

Know Your Biases

Know How to Grieve