Recently I found myself feeling dejected and depressed, when a simple thought came into my mind that changed everything. It’s something I want to share with others, because I think it might help them too.
The other day I was out for a walk, and I was mulling over Wildmind’s precarious financial situation. Right now we don’t have enough sponsors to break even, and the bank balance has been dropping alarmingly.
- See also: True heroism is to practice love
I find it dispiriting, doing something I think is valuable and that not being supported. In my darkest moments I wonder if that means that what I do isn’t valued, and that can lead to me thinking I’m not valued.
These are the kinds of gloomy ruminations that were going on in my head as I was walking. I was feeling pretty down.
Finding the Warrior Spirit
Then, out of nowhere, came the thought, “You’re a warrior.”
I don’t normally think of myself that way. But as soon as the word “warrior” entered my mind, I felt a surge of energy and confidence.
“Don’t complain about your problems,” I thought. “Be a warrior and tackle them head on.”
And that made me think of how I come from a long line of people who have fought for survival.
We’re all the descendants of strivers and survivors
When my dad was nine years old, he father died in an accident. He ended up working at a very young age to help support his sister, brother, and my grandmother.
My dad’s mum had been orphaned at the age of 15, and she and her younger brother ended up in an orphanage. But when she was 16 she got a job as a cleaner, and got her brother out of the orphanage, effectively becoming his parent. She worked so hard that when she was 70 she looked like she was in her 90’s.
Her parents both had hard lives and passed away at the ages of 50 and 40, of infectious diseases common among working class people.
Her grandfather was a ship’s cook on a wooden cargo ship that caught fire while en route to India, shipwrecking him in Mozambique.
Most of the family before then were farm laborers or servants. They all had hard lives. But they all hung in there long enough to have surviving children.
My life is positively luxurious and care-free compared to most of theirs. I really have nothing to complain about.
Remember Who You Are
In fact I take inspiration from my ancestors.
We’re all the descendants of survivors: of strivers and warriors. I choose to emulate them by not letting myself be overcome by self-doubt.
I know that what I do is valuable. I know that I matter. I just have to keep reminding myself that financial challenges are a battle to be fought and won. It’s not that I’m aiming to conquer or harm anyone, of course; don’t take the warrior imagery too literally. But the difficult situation I face is one I turn toward, confidently, like one going into battle.
As the Buddha is reputed to have said on the eve of his enlightenment, “It is better to die fighting than to live as one vanquished.”
So if you doubt yourself — if you experience despair or hopelessness, when you feel like giving up — remind yourself of who you are. You’re a survivor, from a lineage of strivers stretching back four billion years. Take inspiration from the past as you face the future. Be a warrior.
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