‘One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say. Philosophy is harmonized knowledge making a harmonious life; it is the self-discipline which lifts us to serenity and freedom. Knowledge is power, but only wisdom is liberty.’ Will Durrant
I started this blog at a time when I felt overwhelmed and disillusioned in life. Angry and fed up of feeling surrounded by greedy selfish people, only out for themselves and shallow material wealth.There were countless times I wanted to rage (or cry) at the injustice of it all, but apart from the fact I’m technically a grown up, there’s a time and a place for all that ranting apparently. I’ve not found it yet. But, at that time, a thought popped into my head from over 20 years ago.
‘Nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say’.
Nothing pisses people off more than not reacting – when that is exactly what they seek. To wind you up, to provoke a reaction, to see you upset. To bring you down to their level. There’s nothing normal about deliberately trying to ruin someone’s day or life. Nothing.
Anyway, this little gem of ‘nothing’ advice was in a diary, which I had in my 20s. A real diary – you know, the paper kind, which you actually wrote in.
At a time where I did the polar opposite of nothing – I wanted everything, right then and there. The career, the money, everything, it was the the 90’s, wrapped in partying, yuppie culture, the novelty of a mobile phone the size of a house brick and more partying. It was a race to do more, have more. Disposable. Shallow. I was guilty of it all.
A lot has changed since then, maybe it’s just age, experience and working out what’s really important in life. It seems to take loss or disaster to realise. In my experience some of the best people in life are taken early – and the fools left to fester.
Anyway ‘nothing’ popped into my head again recently and I sought out the original source and the full quote above, which I love even more.
So if you’re feeling angry, worried, overwhelmed, just stop. Do nothing. Take back some power. Pause and just let those feelings sit there for a moment, or an hour, or even a few days. Do nothing. It will pass.
When you can’t control what’s going on around you, the one thing you can do is choose how you react. Harder said than done for sure. But if you pause before you react, it can be done. The more you do it, the easier it gets – and you start to retrain your resolve and become stronger. And calmer. And mightier.
You’ll feel better for it – what seems overwhelming will reduce, and you’ll be in a better place to do whatever you need to. To ignore, to respond in a better way, or to tackle whatever it is you face. One step at a time, at your pace, and staying true to your own values.
And obviously, ‘nothing’ is always done best with a coffee in your hand!
I dare you to try it. In my humble, random experience, wisdom really does enable liberty. But it took almost 30 years and a lot of mistakes for me to work that out.
The Feral Wife xx