Epictetus wrote in the Enchiridion, “The things in our control are by nature free, unrestrained, unhindered.” We control our own actions, words, opinions, what we like, what we don’t like, and what we want. If we stick to what we control, he suggests, we are free of restraint. It is when we try to influence the things outside our control that we are trapped. It’s good advice. The difficulty is figuring out what we can control.
That’s been on my mind a lot. There’s a lot I don’t like happening, but what can I control? I can choose despair or resistance, that’s up to me. I need to focus on what I can do, not what I wish would happen. So even though I feel like kicking more than an exercise bag, I will instead focus my mind and my heart on resisting despair.