I am not a learned person, in terms of further education. I have a Certificate Four in Community Service work, and I have my lived experience that has brought me the knowledge I currently have.
Since I began looking into living the Stoic Life, I often think to myself, ‘how would Marcus have handled this?’. The Marcus I refer to is, of course, Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor, two thousand years ago. Marcus was a learned chap, who thought deeply on the ideals of Stoicism.
I, though nowhere near as learned, also think on the ideals of Stoicism. Not as deeply as Marcus did, I am sure, but I certainly think on what the best response is, to a variety of things that happen in life. Life gives you many opportunities to further your understanding of what Stoicism is, and can be.
Something happened on Facebook recently, where someone wrote something, and I, rather than immediately rushing in with a possibly ill considered opinion, stepped back to consider the thing more deeply. Did it seem important? Yes, OK, was it something I could do something about? Something useful, that is, that could improve things, at all?
The answer to that question definitely seemed to be no, it was beyond my capabilities to do anything to change the end result, and thinking further, I wondered whether any one of us could actually do anything useful. The answer to that, again was no, unless you think having a good whinge useful, which I don’t. Others may think differently. I am not those others.
And now, a few days later, I can’t remember what that thing even was, the world hasn’t ended, and life goes on as before … So Stoicism has saved me from some useless whinging and whining, thus giving more time for more useful things. Life is like that, things boil up suddenly and seem to overflow. Stepping back, and doing nothing can help to turn down the temperature, and we can all calm down again …
Stress is often a major cause of health problems, particularly the kind of stress caused by the things we can’t do anything about. I say, instead of getting hot under the collar, step back, and think. Your body, and your mind will thank you for it!