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Stoicism Is A Work In Progress …

I am learning to be a Stoic, it’s difficult, but very interesting.

If you’re sick of being offended by the words of others, you have options to prevent it happening. 
1/ stop reading or listening to the words of others
2/ think, and consider what you read or hear using a more accepting/curious attitude

If you look at such things with a more open mindset, annoyance will not assail you. Think on why such things have been written or said, analyse reasons for the words, explore context and gain better understanding …

None of us are perfect, we are all somewhere on the road to ‘perfection’, or wisdom. The aim of the Stoic is to live a life that meets their ideas on wisdom, courage, justice and temperance.

I’m working through what Stoicism is, or trying to anyway. It’s much deeper than the way many people think when they hear or read the word ‘Stoic’, as in someone who endures pain or hardship without complaint, or any show of feelings. But there is so much more to it all than that.

The stoic person, when faced by offending words, would feel sorry for the ignorant person who said or wrote the words, and hope that the person came to a better understanding on the enormity of what those words may have done to others, in terms of possible harm.

That is my interpretation of it anyway, and as always, I welcome comments and ideas about it.

Proof of Stoicism’s Value

Today I brought my calmness and wisdom into play, and worked through a problem that could have ruined me, if I’d let it. I wrote about it here, and gave credit to my learnings regarding Stoicism, that helped me to calmly work my way through something that could have stressed a person out.

Calmness in the face of problems, and working through possible problems in wise and rational ways is all a part of why I am glad to have Stoicism in my life, these days. I take my poetry seriously, and I could have lost many of my newest poems today, but I didn’t.

I’m finding my poetry has gone up a notch, and I have been thrilled with the quality of my most recent poetry written. I hope others will be impressed with my newest poems too, and I especially hope the publisher I have in mind, will want to publish my latest collection.

I had thought of never sending any more poetry to this particular publisher, ever again, but I ver soon realised they had done the right thing by rejecting that messy and ill thought out ‘collection’. It was more a rag bag of poems, some ok, some good perhaps, some quite ordinary really, and it was far from being a cohesive collection that fit together in any real way.

Poetry collections play an important part in my life in various ways, but the idea of getting a new poetry collection out is the most important way right now. But I have quietly got on with the process of getting this new collection together, it will certainly not be a rush job, unlike that rejected ‘collection’.

I have another important writing related thing going on right now as well, the Gawler and Adelaide Plains Festival of Words (Location). This is also being worked on by the sub-commitee in a methodical way, and things are going well with it. This is happening from 24-28 July, and is looking to be an excellent and interesting Writing Festival. Writing Workshops, talks from interesting and interested people, it is a writing event that is bringing in a broader audience, of community members I expect.

Calm in the face of potential stressful situations is such a valuable tool to have, thank you, Stoicism, I love what you help me with!

Virtuous and Stoic Thoughts

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.