Monday, April 23, 2012

Marcus on Mondays: Meditation 7:20

One thing alone troubles me: the fear that I may do something which man’s constitution disallows or would wish to be done some other way, or forbids ‘til a future day.

This note is not about the fear of failure, but the fear of being prevented by a natural limitation. This is about the fear that you will hit a roadblock in your goals because something prevents you. This is not a particularly comforting note, and is not intended to be. (You could argue otherwise, since the note also mentions the possibility of finding another route to your goal or being able to do it in the future. However, future implied success when you are currently banging your head against the wall is not necessarily comforting to me.)  

Considering that you may not be capable of a task is painful, but often necessary. (It is also an experience I am well used to having. It is almost impossible to “think positive” when so much is going wrong.) Putting things on hold can feel like defeat, and none of the determination in the world will help you if the wall you are banging your head against just will not come down.

(As an aside, telling someone to “cheer up” or “think positive” is probably the most useless thing that someone could ever say to someone who is depressed. All it does is cause the person being told to cheer up to become more miserable. Do not ever do this. Yes, that is a specific request. I will send you articles about it. I will write articles at you about it.)

With that said, this note mostly concerns the “fear” of such a limitation, not the actual limitation. Can you be just as held back by the fear of the roadblock as the roadblock itself? All signs point to “yes.” Being afraid of running into a limitation can be as paralyzing as the actual limitation. I think that in some ways the fear is easier to manage than the actual limitation. My general method for dealing with the fear is being aware of what I am able to do and finding ways to work around the road block. (This would be where the “would wish to be done in another way” part of the note comes in.) Self-assessment is extremely important. If you cannot manage it because of depression find someone you can trust who can help talk you out of overly negative assessments.