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Square One

Katja Kokko | 15.4.2015

I’ve been feeling stressed-out these past few weeks. First the stress wedged itself under one of my shoulder blades and then, for the first time in ages, my skin started breaking out. I can’t help but wonder at how sensitive to stress I’ve become. I’ve spent most of my life subconsciously worrying about something, and stinging sensations in my shoulder blades have seemed perfectly normal, but these days it only takes me a day or two to become aware of something being amiss.

I read Maaret Kallio’s excellent column in Helsingin Sanomat the other day. I’m almost a bit upset she managed to express the idea before me, but it’s alright, really – there’s no way of exhausting this topic. People are weighed down with worries and troubles; money, love and health.

Kallio’s column captures the essence of the matter. With positive thinking and the law of attraction being all the rage nowadays, a lot of people are getting stressed when they find themselves going through bad times, having a shitty day, or worrying about whatever it is we worry about in our daily lives. And then they are expected to think positively to get out of that negative cycle. Pasted-on positivity isn’t actually helpful at all; if nothing seems to be changing, it’s time to turn our gazes inward and ask ourselves whether we have truly accepted the fact that things are going to hell.

As Maaret notes in her column, change begins with acceptance, not with resisting negativity. What if things never get better but we still have to go on with life? Would we accept everything then? This is usually the turning point where we change course, and miracles can happen.

Some time ago, I stumbled onto a blog post, entitled “Matkaa voi jatkaa vain sieltä missä ollaan” (“You can only go on from where you are”), by Kaisa Jaakkola’s husband. The post was about weight loss, but the same motto is true for all things in life. Change can only take place when, instead of building castles in the air or denying the facts, we recognize, and admit to ourselves, where we actually stand. This must be followed by acceptance. Only then have we reached our starting point, our square one, and that famous law of attraction begins to work in our favor.

That’s all for today. I’ll be here, carving myself out a nice little square one.

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Photo Dorit Salutskij

Translation Katja Nikula

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