Sophrosyne: (n.) a healthy state of mind, characterized by self-control, moderation, and a deep awareness of one’s true self, and resulting in true happiness.
Please allow me to indulge my inner geek today. See, I have a thing for weird words. My vocabulary has words like basorexia and pluviophile tucked between bread and pizza. The other day, I stumbled upon the Greek philo word sophrosyne and I thought it quite charming.
Essentially, it means a healthy mind and a healthy body through self-control, moderation, and awareness. Think of it as sensible minimalism, balance, and satisfaction. I thought these are the things that constitute happiness, because really, strip everything to the core and it doesn’t take much to deliver the essentials to sustain a person.
Part of me knows that I relate to this word simply because I have the tendency to obsess. When I was younger, I lived a rather stressed lifestyle because I’m quite intense and aggressive. Let’s say my mind wasn’t as open as I thought it and my narrow perspective of how things should be fueled my never-ending desire to hack at things until I deem them perfect, which obviously hardly happens. Self-control was never in abundance, moderation was a vague concept, and awareness was superficial.
As I grew older, I realized this obsessive, controlling nature isn’t healthy and I made a conscious effort to ‘chill out’. I figured it is not about controlling others or events because no matter how I try to achieve that, I will fail, as these are out of my hands in reality. The only thing I can handle is myself and really, if I can’t manage myself how do I even expect to handle what is outside of me?
From this thought came moderation and acceptance. Moderation in the sense that I have to be content with what is there. Let it be enough. However, don’t mistake this for settling because it is not, but rather only making peace with reality. After all, once there is acceptance, it makes it easier to make changes. Ultimately, from acceptance springs truth and the power to initiate change wells off it.
I have a mind to say all these make the recipe for happiness. Take what is given, strive for balance, know yourself, don’t go crazy. When we make peace with what is real, there is a permeating calm that is quite addicting. You’ll never want to stress ever again.