There are some things that no amount of positivity or mindfulness or stoic calm can give us control over.
They are every day and everywhere.
Some of these things are mental, some are physical, and many have to do with the world around us. We all have limitations and strengths that are beyond our control, but we rarely complain about the strengths we are given that have nothing to do with us.
I hear people deny this, and they often impose their ideas on vulnerable people.
“You wouldn’t have this mental illness if you just had more faith!”
“Oh man, your leg will grow back if you can just gather positive vibrations around you and just soak in them.”
If you are lucky, you can pay them for their prayers or premium good thoughts.
So there are things we can control and things we cannot control.
These things are different for all of us.
For some people, the things we talked about yesterday are within their control, for others they are not. Genetics, disabilities, societal factors and plain dumb luck determine many things for every one of us, sometimes for our benefit, other times not so much.
So what do we do with the things that are beyond our control, especially the things that we don’t like?
Going back to Epictetus, who spent much of his life as a slave, before being banished for being a philosopher:
“Authentic happiness is always independent of external conditions. Vigilantly practice indifference to external conditions. Your happiness can only be found within… Stop aspiring to be anyone other than your own best self: for that does fall within our control.”