My Path to Stoicism

marcus 2

While embracing minimalism, I came across the term Stoic. I had heard the term before and had the perception that probably many others have. I saw a Stoic as a rigid, unfeeling person, indifferent to all matter of events and emotions.

So, I did some digging. The Internet led me to Daily Stoic. It’s the brainchild of Ryan Holiday.  It is a great beginners guide and through the site I went back to the foundation of the teachings of Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, and Seneca.

There was an immediate connection with Stoicism and I soon learned what a practical and all encompassing philosophy it really is. Stoicism doesn’t teach one to become unfeeling and cold but to be in control of the only things you can control in this life: your emotions, your attitude, your execution, your reaction, your perception. Anything that has a you/your attached is something to examine, strengthen, reign in and practice.

The teachings and practices of Stoicism are things I  naturally gravitated to and striving for. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is like an offshoot of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which is rooted in Stoicism. I had already used DBT for years in therapy.

Stoicism exemplifies humility, modesty, acceptance, compassion, accountability, and rational thought. All of which is sorely lacking in today’s world. These are all virtues I have been striving for and now I had a nice, neat road map to lead the way.

Many of the great thinkers, innovators, and leaders studied and practiced Stoicism such as Thomas Jefferson, James Stockdale, Theodore Roosevelt, George Washington, Frederick the Great, Montaigne, and many others. Coincidentally, these are people I have admired a majority of my life.

Life may deal you a shitty hand. But we mustn’t wallow and blame and do nothing about it. We mustn’t accept being a victim or a martyr or an asshole as our fate. But we must acknowledge it and heal from it. We learn and we go on. We change our perception. We take responsibility for what we do have control over. We cultivate an indifference to what we cannot control. We stay accountable. We take action. And we develop an inner citadel of peace, contentment, and strength.

Most of all, we accept our fate as mortal beings. We do not fear death but accept it and do the best we can with the time allotted to us. This is all we really can do. And isn’t that enough?

I say, it’s more than enough.

 

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