Life can test us in ways we can’t imagine and throughout these trials, it’s difficult to retain your character and moral values. In this post I’m going to explore the idea of Stoicism and how it can benefit a person character.
What is Stoicism?
Stoicism is a philosophy of life in which an individual can focus on living as a rational being and gain excellent judgment and fulfilled happiness. Stoics believe that human distress is caused by mistaken judgement and incorrect beliefs. Stoicism study and practice aims to correct these judgments and beliefs. Some common themes of Stoic philosophy include:
- Virtue (excellence of character or moral beauty).
- External events are not connected to our character and therefore cannot be good or bad.
- There are four basic virtues:
- Things don’t disturb us, it is our judgment of those things that do.
- Virtue consists of acting consistently according to nature.
Putting it to Practice
Now, the ability to be virtuous and not take external events to heart sounds incredibly empowering, however it’s difficult to put into practice. It’s an extreme mental battle which takes a lot of time to learn. It takes mental rehearsal and reading to develop these thoughts and ideas because our minds struggle to understand that it’s our own judgement that hurts us.
I, myself am far from becoming Stoic. Though, I won’t stop trying as I hope reaching this virtuous state will help me to stop overthinking and developing anxiety.
I’m going to list some exercises that can aid an individual in becoming more enlightened. Here they are:
- Whenever you remember, try to refrain from making impressions and refrain from acting on impulses.
- Observe them as mere impulses and impressions.
- If an impression of good or bad occurs, reflect whether it was under you control.
- If not, it isn’t according to nature.
- Before choosing to do anything, realise whether it is according to nature or an impulse.
- Regularly consider your situation and surroundings.
- Read stoic literature.
- Reading is essential to understand your motives behind why you want to be a Stoic.
- Re-reading the Stoic principles regularly.
- Mental rehearsal of upcoming events that can trigger mistaken judgment.
These are just some practices you can put into place for a more detailed guide on Stoicism, check out the reddit guide.
My journey into Stoicism has been a difficult one, I have been working on mental rehearsals, however; reading literature is my downfall. Even from these little mental rehearsals I have been able to push back a lot of negativity.
I’m going to end this post with two of my favourite Stoic quotes so far. I challenge you to reflect on them and see if they relate to you and your life.
Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity – Seneca
It is the act of an ill-instructed man to blame others for his own condition; it is the act of one who has begun to be instructed, to lay blame on himself; and of one whose instruction is complete, neither blame another, nor himself – Epictetus
Thanks for reading everyone, I hope to explore more philosophical ideas in my journey of self-discovery.