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Why Traveling Will Not Guarantee Emotional Well Being

travel emotional well being

img src Alex G. on flickr

This post is largely inspired by the great stoic philosopher Seneca on traveling. We has human beings always tend to want to be in control of everything around us. It gives us a sense of safety in a way, that if we are in control of our reality, then we are safe. When it comes to emotional well being, we tend to get into really grey areas of life because there are not set rules. Everything is circumstantial and what may be the correct response for one situation and one point in time may be an incorrect response in another situation of the same nature.

So there are a few things that I would like to expand on a little to clear my own head.

  • Giving up control to trying to change others or circumstances.
  • Distractions (travel in this instance) does not guarantee emotional well being.
  • Being honest with yourself.

Giving up control to trying to change others or circumstances.

letting go to the idea that someone has to adhere to our views makes life so much easier. It is one of those things that often plays a very subtle back drop to our perspectives. We may not even feel we are doing it to the people we are relation with around us! That is what makes it so scary, is we are un-aware of what we are doing.

Being mindful of this though and catching yourself in your self deception is a step towards emotional well being. Now you see something that you can fix if you want to.

This isn’t just good practice but this is just working on being a better human being to other people and to yourself. You will respect yourself more because it’s very humbling to see the faults that you’ve been caught up in. And then it is also encouraging because now you have the sight or direction that you can go to literally change who you are. (not saying this is always easy however, sometimes it takes a struggle to grow.)

And sometimes the easy path is not always the best path.

Distractions does not guarantee emotional well being.

As Seneca the stoic will point out,

“Are you surprised, as if it were a novelty, that after such long travel and so many changes of scene you have not been able to shake off the gloom and heaviness of your mind? You need a change of soul rather than a change of climate.”

You could do all the traveling in the world to “get away” or to “figure things out” but they aren’t a cure for the problem. The only cure for this problem is you being able to take responsibility for your faults, mistakes, past, whatever it is that is giving you the itch to get away. It is a distraction to not deal with it inside because you know that it will be mentally painful.

But by accepting that you made those mistakes, have those faults, are that person you “don’t want to be” allows the the space to come back to health with yourself. It allows you to start making a map on what you DO want to change and despite our flinch reaction to go through it instead of avoid it.

“…your faults will follow you whithersoever you travel. 2. Socrates made the same remark to one who complained; he said: “Why do you wonder that globe-trotting does not help you, seeing that you always take yourself with you? The reason which set you wandering is ever at your heels.”

Being honest with yourself.

And this all comes with being honest with yourself. That is part of the emotional alchemy process that can both be emotionally draining, but exponential growth worthy. Every time we fully divest ourselves and allow ourselves to be vulnerable we are able to learn tons of insights about ourselves and thus learning about others.

Through our own self deceptions that we clear out we learn in which way other people deceive each other or manipulate each other and avoid them like the plague (unless you consciously choose to allow the deception.)

However my outlook is not that if you are deceived by someone that you are foolish. Even incredible smart people are deceived. And there may be cases when a really good friend might present this scenario to you as a gift. It may reveal something about you that you can work on. It also may hurt that this has happened but in my experience it doesn’t mean we have to give up on ourselves or the other person (as long as they want to keep working at the relationship.)

Respect yourself but also know that trust is something that can both be broken down as well as be built back up again if you’re receptive to the change and want to work toward emotional well being.

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