Recently, I’ve heard several comments concerning stoicism.
I don’t know the entire teaching and belief system of stoicism, but I know that my grand pa was called a stoic by my mom. Her meaning was that he did not ever show his emotions about anything.
Now that is a definition of stoicism, but not the only one.
What are the tenets of stoicism?
According to Wikipedia, there are four.
Logic, Physics, Ethics, Emotions.
The Stoics classified these different forms of virtue under four broad headings, the four cardinal virtues: Wisdom or Prudence: Includes excellent deliberation, good judgment, perspective, good sense. Justice or Fairness: Includes good-heartedness, benevolence, public service, fair dealing. Training. Daily reflection. Philosophy for a Stoic is an active process of constant practice and self-reminder.
The only reference I was aware of when concerning grand pa, (that is the one I’ll discuss here) was that he had his emotions under wraps. (Kind of like a Vulcan – always in control of their emotions)
I’m looking at stoicism like this. A person needs to be in control of their emotions when other things are needed; like say, caring for a family or going to work.
This is not to say that there should be no emotions, but that they can be stored away until the time is appropriate to deal with them. Stoics do not, NOT feel things. Quite the opposite. They feel them very fully.
A trouble that may arise is that storing them away for a better time, may delay them too long, or one may forget to deal with them. Like the elephant in the room, they end up taking up more and more space, leaving no room for the process of healing to take place.
So what does one do?
What if we actually SCHEDULED a certain time to face off with that elephant, then when the time is up, back to our regular life.
When someone dear to me was going through a divorce, she knew that during the day time hours, she was committed to her schooling, and after that, her kids needed her to be present for them.
She was definitely going through some severe trauma. This woman stored her emotions away daily, until everyone was in bed.
Then she laid in her bed and cried, and processed, sometimes alone, sometimes on the phone with a friend, but always after her daily duties were finished.
She did not deny her feelings, or their validity. She simply knew that left unchecked they would overtake her life, and she would not be able to heal.
Stoicism – control of her emotions. It served her well, and over time, she became whole again.
Since beginning to write this post on emotional stoicism, something happened that upset me, and took my feelings back to a time when my emotions controlled me.
Fortunately over time, with many opportunities to practice, I was able to recognize the issue before it was able to take hold. I was able to rant about it in my journal, and move on.
It became a perfect example of being able to release others, to be just how they are. They will do and say what they always do and say. Will I let their actions spoil my whole day even after they’ve walked away?
Now what happened did hurt. It was valid to have feelings about it.
The ability to not hang on to it and let it fester, is so peace giving.
No need hang on to it and let it cause a deeper wound, that is more difficult to heal.
I used a process talked about earlier with my dear one.
You can hurt. You can be mad.
But truth? You have more to do than wallow in it.
Set a timer. Write a post. Rant. Scream. Yell. Cry. Be done.
You have so much more to do than to mope. Take care of your emotions. Have them. Feel them. Do them. Walk away from them.
I’ve shared more than once on my blogs about David in the Bible. (1 Samuel 30) In his story, he got way more than is feelings hurt. His city was destroyed and his family taken.
In short form; here is the process he followed;
David wept. (He showed emotion)
David found strength in the Lord his God. (He took time to regain his energy)
David inquired of the Lord. (He asked God what to do next)
David pursued his enemy. (He faced the problem – made a choice to not be hampered by it any more)
God restored everything. (David’s life became whole again)
- Set aside time to care for yourself
- Find out what step to take next to get on with your life
- Take care that the same thing won’t happen again
- Be excited to see your new future
How do you handle your situations and setbacks?
Do you use stoic principals, or do you have a different way?
If you can add to my limited knowledge of the topic of stoicism, feel free to do so in the comments, or via message.
See you next time!