How to be Comfortable with Ourselves
Describe yourself by using the things you love to do.
We’ve all been in positions where we are asked to introduce ourselves by describing our personality. Often, it’s in starting a new job, or a forced social event, where fun facts about ourselves are the name of the game.
Go ahead and try it. Sport? Reading? Long walks on the beach?
Almost every person, when pressed, will mention travelling.
We are obsessed with travel. And why not? The things we must see: beaches, monuments, buildings and people, to name a few.
But that urge for adventure, that something different is often a mask for something deeper and unsettling.
To be everywhere is to be nowhere
The best of one thing can never be experienced by simply dipping our toes in. By moving from place to place, in whatever medium, trying to absorb more than is possible, we end up absorbing nothing at all.
Unsettlement is a silent cognitive pandemic we believe to be unique to our era, but in reality, it has always plagued us.
“You do not tear from place to place and unsettle yourself with one move after another. Restlessness of that sort is symptomatic of a sick mind.”
Plants that are frequently moved never grow as strong or as tall as those rooted firmly in place.
If we spend our lives travelling to all corners of the world, finding unbelievable places to stay, seeing all wonders the world has to offer and acquainting ourselves with many amazing people, will we ever experience real friendships?
The healing of a wound is not helped, but hindered, by ever-changing remedies.
We can order our minds by taking stock whenever the urge to delve in and out of whatever thing we find ourselves passing by. Have we absorbed everything possible from this experience, or have we just scratched the surface?
Being comfortable in and with ourselves
“Nothing, to my way of thinking, is a better proof of a well-ordered mind than a man’s ability to stop just where he is and pass some time in his own company.”
We find shelter in intentionally placing ourselves around others to distract us from ourselves. But if we are to be genuinely content with where we are in life and what kind of people we have become, we must first be content with what we are and what we have.
Poverty does not define those who have too little, but those who hanker for more. If we are always wanting what we don’t have, we will never be satisfied with what we do. We could have the world, and still not be satisfied because it is simply not enough.
The land we own or the number of investments earning interest is not a measure of our wealth, but are examples of the limits of it.
So what is the limit to a person’s wealth?
First, having what is essential, and second, what is enough.
This article is based on Seneca’s “Letters from a Stoic”, translated by Robin Cambell, and all quotes here are taken from Letter II.