If you’ve ever heard someone describe themselves as a “stoic,” you might have wondered what they meant. The word “stoic” is derived from the ancient Greek philosophy of stoicism.
Stoicism is a way of life that emphasizes the development of self-control and resilience in the face of adversity. Stoics believe that by mastering our own emotions and desires, we can attain a state of inner tranquility and live a fulfilling life.
What Is Stoicism?
Stoicism was founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early 3rd century BC. It was one of the most popular philosophies in ancient Rome and has been influential throughout history.
The Stoics believed that everything in the universe is interconnected, and that we are all part of a larger whole. They believed that we should live according to reason, rather than our emotions or desires.
The Four Virtues
The Stoics believed that there were four virtues that were essential for living a good life: wisdom, courage, justice, and temperance. Wisdom is the ability to make good judgments, courage is the ability to face fear and adversity, justice is treating others fairly, and temperance is self-control over our desires.
The Dichotomy of Control
One of the key tenets of stoicism is the dichotomy of control. This means that there are some things within our control (such as our thoughts, opinions, and actions) and some things outside our control (such as other people’s opinions or natural disasters). Stoics believe that we should focus on what’s within our control and accept what’s outside our control with equanimity.
- Focus on What You Can Control: Instead of worrying about things you can’t change, focus on what you can control.
- Live in the Present Moment: Don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future – focus on the present moment.
- Acknowledge Your Emotions: Stoics don’t believe in suppressing their emotions, but rather acknowledging them and then letting them go.
- Be Grateful: Practicing gratitude can help cultivate a sense of contentment and inner peace.
The Stoic Practice of Self-Examination
Another important aspect of stoicism is self-examination. This involves reflecting on our thoughts, emotions, and actions to identify areas where we need to improve. By examining ourselves honestly and objectively, we can work towards becoming better people.
The Importance of Virtue
Stoics believe that the ultimate goal of life is to live in accordance with virtue. This means living a life that is guided by wisdom, courage, justice, and temperance. By striving to live virtuously, we can attain a state of inner tranquility and live a fulfilling life.
Stoicism is a philosophy that has been around for over 2,000 years, but its teachings are still relevant today. The stoic philosophy of life emphasizes developing self-control and resilience in the face of adversity.
By focusing on what’s within our control and living virtuously, we can attain a state of inner peace and fulfillment. So next time someone describes themselves as a “stoic,” you’ll know exactly what they mean!