On Trying

I’ve recently discovered why the word “trying” actually has two meanings. There’s “trying” to do something, as in you’re attempting to do something. Then there’s “wow this experience is really trying”, as in this experience is really sucking the life out of you.

What Webster’s Dictionary fails to include is that trying can in fact, be very trying. I’ve found myself lately trying to do so many things. Trying to do this. Trying to get that done. Trying to be happy. Trying to be this way or that way. Trying to read more. Trying to watch less TV. Trying to meditate every night. Trying to eat better. Trying to get away on the weekends more. I’ve literally tried myself into complete exhaustion. My brain is tired. My body is tired. Even my emotions are tired.

There’s been so much change in the past 7 months of my life, some for the better and some not. I really would like just a little bit of stasis and predictability again. I would like to just be, instead of trying to achieve 1000 things in the hopes it’ll make me feel better or lead me to a path of lasting happiness.

I love reading. I enjoy unwinding with TV. I know I need to eat better because my body is getting away from me more and more again, and I can feel the weakness in a big way. Trying isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes you have to take risks. You have to try new things. Not at least trying can be worse (though to be totally honest with you, I’ve never really bought into that mantra). I just want to stop putting so much pressure on myself because otherwise, the trying ends up becoming the issue all on its own. It ends up making me tired and feeling worse when I don’t achieve what I “tried”.

Buddhism covers the principle of acceptance in a really simple but important way. Instead of trying to constantly fix yourself or your feelings, accepting them helps you actually move on from them. Trying and trying ends up making you feel like you have a giant rope tied around you and the more you wriggle, the tighter the rope gets. So I’m going to try replace trying in my vocabulary with acceptance.

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One thought on “On Trying

  1. I like the Buddhist perspective on accepting things that you mention. Another useful philosophy is stoicism. The ancient Stoics used to teach a similar thing to Buddhism that with should focus only on the things that we can control and forget the rest. All external things are outside of our control, and you any thing that we really have full control over is our mind. We can control how we react to external circumstances. We can choose not to let them bother us.

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