The stoics have this practice called “negative visualization.” It’s the stoic principle I’ve struggled the most with because in some ways, it feels a bit like dwelling on the negative, which just can’t be good for mental health right? But it turns out, this is more like training. It’s both practice for what to do when things go badly, and practice in acknowledging how much worse things could be and how good it actually is.
Seems a bit counterintuitive but I see where they’re going with it. And today, I decided I should try my hand at it. See, I had a “bad” day (I mean, I’ve already put bad in quotation marks, it’s already working!). On the grand scheme of things, it was nothing, but I was frustrated and angry in the moment (okay, let’s be honest, several moments), reacting poorly to things out of my control—to the gap between expectations and reality, and immediately was staring down an existential crisis. I am past the emotions now so I can easily laugh about it, but perhaps, just perhaps, if I had trained for that moment, I could have avoided the emotional pitfalls that come with the expectation that the world and everyone in it should shape their behavior to suit me.
It's an interesting thought experiment anyway. Seems simple sitting this far from my emotional reaction. But how in the world do you visualize every little thing that could go wrong? I mean, geez, that could really take you to some dark places. But maybe I’ll give it small scale try anyway, and see if I manage to ever have a “bad” day again.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.