In this world overloaded with information and distraction, you need to have strong mental weapons to be fulfilled.
It’s hard to make the right choice in this field of infinite possibilities. If one’s unconscious, it usually reaches negative outcomes. Comfort zone and unawareness pick the easiest and least frightful tasks — many of those tasks don’t build a positive foundation.
There are many extremely intelligent people in this world who can predict your behavior; that’s how they align their commercials, news, movies, etc. If you don’t carefully decide what you want — they will do it for you.
You will eat stuff you don’t want, buy things you don’t need, have beliefs that don’t make any sense. Your unwillingness to consciously create them allowed others to do so.
Here comes the Stoicism — an extremely valuable tool for evaluation of your thoughts; the power you need to remove the distractions and focus just on the meaningful things you can control.
But there’s a trick — if you don’t know how to properly use it, you will hurt yourself.
Absolute Control Over Your Life, In Any Moment
“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” — Marcus Aurelius
Stoicism tells us that we cannot change external circumstances; we don’t have any control over them. We can only change our reaction to them. The bigger gap between the outside event and our reactions is, the more power we have.
Analyze the periods when you felt irritated in the last couple of days. For most of them, you couldn’t do anything to change that trigger in the first place; a situation occurred, and your beliefs unconsciously raise raging thoughts — leading to creating even more negative thoughts.
You didn’t feel negative because of a situation; you felt irritated because of that negative thought-chain that was rushing through your mind. You find yourself in those thoughts; in that negativity. You accepted them as self — so the self became filled with negativity.
With the help of the wisdom of Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, and Seneca — your character will find numerous perfectly logical reasons to stop that negative thinking right at the beginning.
If you’re master at it, the negativity won’t even start. Your trained character will immediately recognize an event outside your control; let it go and accept it; leading you to fulfillment.
In the quote from the beginning, one thing is clear — you have absolute control over every situation, at any moment. That’s what everyone says.
But what if you just can’t control it, even if Seneca says that you can?
Fighting With The Emotions
We build our character and beliefs over our entire lives. The automatic behavior is deeply rooted within ourselves. Our logical conscious mind can change its opinions in no time; our unconscious mind is not so flexible.
Expertise is created by repeating the right actions many times — both consciously and unconsciously — that’s how we build our habits, which converts themselves to believes and character. Even though we have strong positive expertise, most of us are experts for habits that slowly destroy our lives.
We know that it’s bad for us. But we still continue to do it. We’ve done it thousands of times — we’re experts at it. Why not repeat something positive instead?
Our character believes in what we’ve been teaching him during our lifetime, and it won’t reject those beliefs so easily. Even though it’s something negative, and we know that it makes our life miserable — our unconscious mind still wants to do it.
“If we repeated that hundreds of times, it’s probably good and safe for us, right?” — Unconcious Mind
“I Am Stoicism, And I Will Hurt You”
We want to destroy those negative habits. We want to react differently, even though everything in us wants to go with a bad flow.
Sometimes, we succeed. Other times, we can’t.
We fail — because we don’t accept that we can’t.
We don’t accept our emotions; our character that we’ve been building for so many years. What can it do — other than arising more negative emotions?
That’s its way of speaking with you. It doesn’t understand words; its language is emotions.
Epictetus is telling us the words of extreme wisdom. But if we don’t convert them to the language of the unconscious mind, it won’t understand a thing. It will become even more irritated — because it just doesn’t understand you.
Instead of accepting our self, we fight with it in a way it doesn’t understand. The fight will go on for some time — but suddenly, it will slowly fade away.
“Is it all gone; are the bad emotions gone?”
“No, no, no. They are just — suppressed. They will come back later, who knows when. One thing is for sure — they will be more powerful than ever.”
I absolutely love Stoicism. Sometimes, the situations aren’t deeply connected to our character, and the wisdom can be applied immediately. If we practice it a lot, we can remove even our deepest beliefs over time.
But for the best efficiency, one must practice acceptance as well.
Not accepting is denying the only thing that exists — the present moment. It’s denying the current self; it’s hating your self for what it is. How can anything good come out of hate?
The only way to changing self is by letting it be — in that way, no resistance is created. You enjoy your self for what it is; you don’t fight with him.
You cooperate, smile together, share emotions of extreme fulfillment. You plan your battles together, riding on the same road.
No energy is spent on fighting; it’s created out of your positive relationship with the self. Nothing can stop the two of you. The only one who can actually stop you in your life is your self — but it backs you up now.
Learn and practice the marvelous wisdom from the Stoics. Be delighted when you succeed; be even more delighted if you fail and accept that.