What is Stoicism? How Can it be Applied to Life?
Stoicism is often misinterpreted. When the term is mentioned, people imagine an emotionless man standing among a crowd of people. Or simply, the stone head and shoulders of an ancient philosopher. In reality, stoicism is a way of life that is based on the concept of accepting things as they are and acting accordingly.
The definition of stoicism is “the endurance of pain or hardship without the display of feelings, without complaint”
It’s not about being emotionless, it’s about awareness and control over your emotions, respond versus react. It is about proceeding onward in difficult situations even when others cannot.
A concept familiar to those working the program of alcoholics anonymous, and other programs of that family. The well-known serenity prayer…
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Is a real-life example. of stoicism in action.
That being said, we can all apply stoicism to our lives in times of difficulty and times of peace.
- →Learn to be present and treat time will respect. Many stoics use the term “Memento Mori” – “remember you must die” as a reminder that time is precious and not to be wasted.
- → Observe situations knowing you have no control over them. The only control you have is over yourself and your response to the situation. This will save you a lot of emotional energy over the years.
- → Forgiving yourself for mistakes and knowing that you can always improve in the future. There is no going back to change what is happened, we must move forward.
- → Stand in truth and justice instead of personal gain or majority influence.
There is so much to be learned from the history is stoicism. Many great leaders have been influenced but the philosophy and have prevailed in the face of great adversity.
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