These are some of my thoughts about the four virtues of the Stoics. The first is wisdom, the second courage, the third temperance, and the fourth is justice. These virtues, as outlined over two thousand years ago, come together to show how to live the life in a Stoic manner, to live a life that is worth living, and lived in a worthy & virtuous manner.
The wisdom referred to is practical wisdom, that which leads us to living our life in (ethically) good ways. Courage refers to more than just physical bravery, but instead refers more to have the courage to act in the most virtuous way, no matter the circumstances. Temperance leads to the Stoic to live a life not focused on getting the best of everything, and indulging oneself, but instead to appreciate good, if it can come in ways which do not harm self, or others. The final virtue, is the one of justice, which refers to acting in just and fair ways.
These four virtues work together, to create the way to live the good life, as the good Stoic aims to live, so they are continuing to work toward living their best possible life, with ‘best’ referring to living a life that closely adheres to living in accordance with the highest levels of the four virtues they strive to hold to. In Stoicsm, we are to live as a virtuous human being, one who rational (lifted to a higher than the level of animals), in living within our society in ways that are virtuous.
A person should heed to the virtues of Stoicism, then, and ask, is this the best thing to do, the wisest, most courageous, most temperate, and most just, thing to do. A person cannot live another person’s life, and so can only show others the best way to live, by living in that way themselves.
And if you feel others are treating you poorly, remember, it is only your perception that they are treating you poorly. If they hurt your feelings, then you have let your feelings be hurt, and you cannot blame another person for your own feelings. If you can think more wisely, and respond with kindness, then you can more easily heal, and the other person may realise their folly. And if they don’t then that is not your fault, but their own, and they are the ones who will suffer from it.
And if the rude person benefits from their behaviour, while you suffer? They are only seeming to benefit, and in their wrongness, are not really benefiting, as they and others will realise, if and when they look at the situation. They are not living their own best life, as you are, with your own kindness given, in the face of rudeness. Your example may be the thing that can change others, as it further strengthens you.