“With afflictions of the spirit…the worse a person is, the less he feels it,” writes Seneca to Lucilius. “Why does no one admit his failings? Because he’s still deep within them. It’s the person who is awakened who recounts his dream, and acknowledging one’s failings is a sign of health.”
The further one distances themselves from that which is comfortable, known, certain, the more time that person gets for introspection. And with introspection comes the comprehension of personal weaknesses, personal failures. We continuously forget these. These failings of ours, these weaknesses.
We feel impenetrable, until we are struck down by a fever and nausea and then suddenly we realize how precious life can be.
We feel superior, until we lose a close family member and then we suddenly realize our own mortality.
We feel dominant, until we are put into positions where we must adapt in order to survive.
It doesn’t feel great to feel lost, to feel uncertain, to feel inferior. Of course it doesn’t feel great. It doesn’t feel great to be violently sick for days on end. Doesn’t feel great to lose someone close. To be completely out of your element.
But Seneca is right: acknowledging one’s weaknesses and failings is a sign of health. When I am the most aware of my personal flaws and insecurities, then I am the most likely to do something about this. To attend to them. The most likely to grow. To become a better version of myself.
And isn’t this good health? Putting oneself in a position to become stronger, better?
So I say: bring on the failures. The embarrassments. The pulling the door instead of pushing, until some passerby taps you on the shoulder and gestures towards the sign.
I say: bring on the weakness. The insecurities. I want to see what lies behind my mask of comfort and confidence. What is lurking down there in the depths of Josie? What is roaming around, unchecked, doing it’s subtle and silent damage?
I don’t want to be so deep into myself that I cannot remember my weaknesses or my failures.
I want to know what it feels like to live awake.
Peace and Blessings,