“If you want to overcome the whole world, overcome yourself” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Last year, I learned a valuable lesson in overcoming myself. As I mention here, 2021 was not really kind to me. I felt struggled. At one point, I just wanted to be alone, shutting my phone and giving the middle finger to the world. A lot of anger and tears.
Now, as I can see more clearly, I realised I am the one who put myself in that situation.
Overcome Yourself VS Blame Game
To put it into perspective, let me tell you a fictional story about a little girl named Amy. One day, Amy got herself a bit lost in the woods. Afraid of the night to come, her first reaction is to blame the lack of signs or pathways. “They should’ve built fences and pathways here, so I won’t get lost.” Later, she met another girl and asked for directions. “I don’t know the way to your house, but I know the way to mine,” said the girl. “What an incompetent girl. If you play here all the time, you should’ve known the entire area,” Amy thought. Another thought came, “If only my parents weren’t so busy, they could’ve played with me today. So, I won’t get lost now.”
It is easier to put blame on everyone and everything. I did that too. I blamed the endless task and administrative process at work. Pointing fingers to people who weren’t being competent or fast enough. The covid-19 situation created the obvious reason to condemn everything. And with blamed came the urge to procrastinate, unwilling to leave the comfort zone, or even to run away and leave everything behind. I haven’t grasped the only person I need to overcome is myself.
A little side note here, I am not 100% free from this blaming cycle. But I am in the process.
To Overcome Fear of The Unknown
Back to Amy. Bit by bit, Amy is building invisible walls around her. It’s like a prison, walls with no door. When the night came, Amy just wrap herself under the big tree, brooding. You see, there is nothing wrong with Amy. She just needs to accept that she is in this situation because of her previous actions.
The next morning, Amy started thinking, ‘should I try to walk in one direction, or maybe try to talk to that girl again?’ Which quickly followed by another thought ‘but if I move from this place, I may get lost further in the dark woods, and I may never find a tree like this to protect me in the night.’
After the acceptance of the initial situation, usually came the dreadful thought of hard work and leaving the current comfort zone behind. Goals looked like abstract things in my head and staying just the way it was sounded much better than doing something. My brain will offer me things I like rather than working to find a solution. I would play games and scroll endlessly through social media rather than improving my situation. Fear of the unknown plays a significant part here.
Rumi, Amy and Yourself
Overcoming yourself is never easy. The path that Amy takes may bring her back to her home or spend another night in the woods. Amy fears her actions would take her into a worse situation. And this prevents her from taking the first step out of her ‘prison’. Her ‘prison’ is actually a comfort-zone room with a door wide open.
One quote from Rumi helps me during this process: “Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.”
This quote reminds me I already have everything that I need inside to achieve everything that I want. The same with Amy, she has everything that she needs to get back home. All she needs to do is to trust herself and take that first step. The more we are willing to take risks and be courageous to overcome our fear, the more the universe will give us opportunities in life.
So, if you are feeling lost or overwhelmed, please read the quote from Rumi again. Remember, you already have everything you need inside you.
A writer | researcher | lecturer who also a tech-addict and internet-junkie