Stoicism is one school of ancient Greek philosophy, which teaches the art of self-control as a means of overcoming destructive and devastating emotions. It was developed by Zeno of Citium approximately at 300 B.C. as a refinement of Cynicism. It doesn’t seek to extinguish one’s emotions completely, but instead it aims to transform them by a resolute Asceticism. That means voluntary abstinence from worldly pleasures, which allows one to develop clear judgment, inner peace as well as freedom from suffering (Stoicism’s ultimate goal). (source: Philosophy Basics).
For instance, you wake up in the morning, and while you’re getting ready for your day, you say to yourself: “I don’t care if I get stuck in traffic or if someone talks to me rudely. I can be ok with that.” That way you not only expect that something will piss you off, but you also reassure yourself that you don’t mind and that you won’t let anything bring you down.
It’s more or less like that: if you want good things to happen to you all the time, you will be hugely disappointed. It never works like that. On the other hand, if you expect annoying things to happen all the time, it’s not so bad once your expectations come to pass.
So, when your expectations go low, you’ll be able to step over them and just walk away. You should remember that because being stuck in traffic isn’t the worst thing that will happen to you. Having a bad day at work is something you need to be able to overcome, because if you lose your temper over silly everyday stuff, what will you do when things get serious?
Life is full of surprises, and most of them aren’t pleasant. It will be more than once that you’ll feel sad, angry, emotionally exhausted. You need to learn how to find your inner peace. Of course, that does not mean you should deny your feelings. No one can do that, and if anyone tries, then they’re just hiding from themselves.
What you need to do is express your feelings openly among people that you trust. You need to be honest about what you’re feeling, and, then, let it go. You can learn so much from yourself if you could just be truthful to what you are experiencing. There are so many things happening every day, why should you only let the bad bother you and suck your positive energy?
You are the master of your universe. Whether it is a family member, a friend or a lover who hurt you just remember this:
“Any person capable of angering you becomes your master; he can anger you only when you permit yourself to be disturbed by him.” ― Epictetus
This article (How Stoic Philosophy Can Teach You The Art Of Self-Control) was published by Thinking Humanity and it is re-posted here under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.