When I started this blog I was extremely frustrated with the job I have, angry and emotional. I have been here over a year, I have put a lot of effort and work into that building, and the company for it to be easily destroyed or ignored every time. This anger and frustration over all the little and big things alike anymore, there is a dread that overcomes me before I leave home. This state of mind I have at hearing the name is all too easy to get into while I am in that building. On a real bad night I was venting and raging to a friend of mine, she works with me and we both know that this restaurant is only standing on one leg. The owner has jacked up prices and cut back on utilities, just trying to hang on until its closed down. Back on point here, short back story on my friend I will call captain, she works there with me, I live with her and she is also a writer who lost her own way for a while for reasons that differ from mine. She has recently found her back to her passion and is putting the work and hours into finishing her books which are both close to being ready to publish. Our differences are great she is an author, she can have a scenario in her head and turn it into a full length book, I am just a writer I have never been good at making up stories, having a small scenario and turning it into something bigger, I either ramble on about something or write poetry (it’s becoming a lost art but we can bring it back) but to focus back on the point here, she found her motivation and has helped me find my own again.
The goal for both of us is to accomplish things we wanted in the past; I spend way too much time thinking without action than dismissing the thoughts, with anger, regret and yes misery. After that bad night and some words of wisdom I came home did some research and here I am now, fought my shyness, my anxiety and my doubt. I made my first post instantly became addicted. It is easy to just post but I needed a challenge, I need to write like I did once before, I want my carpal tunnel to worsen for a passion not a dead end job. I decided to start doing the daily one word prompt and for more of a challenge I asked captain to give me a word a day to write about, it took her one question “any word at all? Noun, adjective? Anything?” and 10 seconds after my yes for her to give me a word. Knowing her like I do I know the word would not be without a purpose and she would not it easy. Captain likes to go on these learning binges where she will want to know all about one subject and learn as much as possible about. Subject of interest right now is philosophy, so on a sticky note she wrote stoicism and handed to me.. Challenge accepted.
For those who don’t know or like me have a general definition if what it means to be stoic without any further knowledge, with a little research I discovered it is not just being stoic in a moment, it’s a way of life. Stoicism is the acceptance of pain or hardship without objection, a restraint to emotion and a nonchalant reaction to pleasure or pain. Patience, acceptance, and tolerance, a practical philosophy: self-control and fortitude as a mean of overcoming destructive emotions and impulses of self.
Stoicism is a school of philosophy with different principles, while I was reading the different principles, there was a few I liked the most. Honestly I like them all but not going to write about them all I picked a couple I found relevant to what’s happening now. I will start with this one.
Find someone you respect and use them to stay honest.
Self-explanatory right? well that would be cheating and to easy. Being honest has never been difficult when it comes to other people, just telling the truth, what really happened, yes I did that, and owning up to a mistake or something you did wrong, that’s the easy part of honesty. I’ve always struggled with the being honest with myself “I can’t do this” I am not good enough” I am a terrible writer” “I will never be good enough” “I have not done this because (insert some lame excuse here) “That guy or girl is better than me” If I were to be honest with myself the thoughts would be “I AM GOOD ENOUGH, I AM A WONDERFUL WRITER WHEN I PUT MY MIND TO IT, I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN GOOD ENOUGH, I HAVE NOT DONE THIS BECAUSE OF ME THE EXCUSES AND SELF DOUBT I LET GET TO ME, AND THE ONLY PERSON BETTER THAN ME IS THE PERSON I HAD IN MY HEAD TELLING ME ALL THIS.” Caps lock on because I really want that part to stick out to me, I am still fighting it. Since I am on this being honest with myself kick I am, always have and always will be better than that loud voice in my head telling me all of that (acceptance) Some of this will tie directly into the second principle of stoicism I decided to rant about.
I have found that many people who you truly respect are not the ones with the most or the best, or even the richest (money can’t buy respect) they are modest and honest with what they have. It is a person or people with goals close to your very own. They inspire you, there is admiration there, when you see them working so hard for what they want how could that not become a motivation for you? In a moment of weakness or a moment of failure when surrounded but the right people is obsolete, it means you watch yourself or you watch them come back at it harder, be stoic don’t let that moment of failure define you or overtake your attitude. Always stay honest with yourself; it is easier to do with someone who feels the same.
I love this principle the hard part is finding someone like that who feels the same, the rest comes easy. Basically someone with similar dreams, determined, passionate, a motivator, someone with stories about how they overcame those emotions, how they are working to achieve their own goals and someone who sees all of that in you as well, find that and it will keep you honest with yourself.
“Choose someone whose way of life as well as words, and whose very face as mirroring the character that lies behind it, have won your approval. Be always pointing him out to yourself either as your guardian or as your model. This is a need, in my view, for someone as a standard against which our characters can measure themselves. Without a ruler to do it against you won’t make the crooked straight.” Seneca the younger, letters from a stoic
The second principle of stoicism I have chosen to rant about for one reason, I have been self-analyzing myself lately. What I used to do, what I used to love, what I used to have a passion for, and how I have passed my down time compared to who I have been for quite a few years.. lost is where I have been, why do I not do any of the things I used to? Where did that passion go? it was an easy answer, too many excuses, too much self-doubt and too much emotion from my experiences with others.
Acknowledge that all emotions come from within.
“Today I escaped anxiety. Or no I discarded it in my perceptions, not outside. -Marcus Aureluis-
When faced with challenges or hurdles in life that you feel you have no control over or you cannot make that jump, do not look for outside forces, do not look around, above or below you for answers, you will not find them there. Look within yourself; look for your true nature. When we give into the anger, misery whatever emotion occurs it can and will change the way we think and feel, we fight our own nature.
With stoicism you live with your nature not against it, so I know and am learning more of that is this emotion I am feeling and usually over react to, I feel like yelling, arguing, breaking something or walking away, in these moments I am fighting my nature, I am fighting myself. I have a quiet inner voice and can feel an inner calm and I know the way I am acting or feeling is ridiculous but I ignore that whisper and I silence it, I am going against my nature. Looking back on moments like that I can recall those whispers and I can recall the way I acted so why can’t I change my behavior? Stoicism has taught me that I am acting on my mood and not my principles.
In my teenage years whenever I wrote something, drew a picture, cooked or even photographed something that I shared with someone, I shared a lot because I didn’t do these things just for me. I would hear “You did not write that” “You didn’t draw that, you traced it” “Someone helped you cook that” “I never thought you would graduate” so 90% of the time that’s the reaction I got, negative and depressing. Or someone would take something I wrote, said or drew and use it for their own benefit and just brush me off, walk all over me. I grew tired of that as anyone would and let the negative influences, the outside forces win.
I would get a knack to try a new recipe the food started coming out terrible, every time I get a spark or an idea to write about, I could have it all planned out in my head, this monologue, this reason for writing it but as soon as the paper came out and my weapon of choice was chosen (pen or pencil) I would clam up and associate the words and actions of others with this piece of blank paper, so when I shut the notebook the only thing in it were the lines the company printed. It’s not because of the negative influences it was all because of me, I looked around, under and over but I never looked within. I took the actions and the voices of others and I made them my own, they are not to blame I am, I could not acknowledge that emotions come from within. Most of the people are completely out of my life and the others minimum contact I could handle them better because I am self-aware and I hear my inner self now more than ever, but I chose not to be around them anymore (surround yourself with people you respect people who treat you the same)
Before I started reading about stoicism I HAD figured out why I gave up on my passion, what had stopped me but as said before I put the blame on others. Reading the principles of stoicism is when I figured out that it was me fighting myself the whole time. The study of stoicism is insightful and can lead to fulfillment, a better life, and will teach me a lot, how to control my impulses, how I usually react to a situation, the thoughts that I have are they my own principles or someone else’s? With self-control, a person you respect, and a full understanding of my mind and my nature I will remain honest with myself and I can and will change my life, I have already begun to but it’s a long journey.
With all that being said I will never be a stoic, it’s not my nature but I will continue to read about it, I will study and use it in my self-analyzing, I will learn a lot more from it. Without some philosophy we give into excuses and distractions.
“Does what happened to you keep you from acting with justice, generosity, self-control, sanity, prudence, honesty, humility, straight forwardness and all the other qualities that allow a person’s nature to fulfill itself? So remember this principle when something threatens to cause you pain; the thing itself was no misfortune at all to endure it and prevail is a great good fortune.” -Marcus Aurelius-