I had the same perception as most people did about Stoicism. I thought it was all about being emotionless or hiding your emotions from others. To my surprise, I only recently found out that it is about the domestication of your emotions, it’s about embracing them rather than hiding them.
I was browsing through my Youtube explore tab one day when I found a video by Ryan Holiday about Stoicism. One video led to another and the next thing I know, I was deep into this exploratory phase, trying to learn more about this philosophy.
I don’t want to stay stagnant in life. I always want to be curious, I want to keep learning and evolving as a human being. I had this feeling deep inside me that everything that I was reading or watching was connected to me in some strange way. As I started reading more and watching more content around this philosophy, I realized that unknowingly I was doing certain things that were part of Stoicism.
I subscribed to the Daily Stoic newsletter which gave me a great introduction to the philosophy. Every day for seven days, I received bits and pieces that made me more curious and even more convinced that I wanted to follow this philosophy for the rest of my life.
I don’t want to explain Stoicism to anyone that is reading this because there are plenty of great resources out there for you to absorb and learn from (I personally recommend Ryan Holiday’s Youtube channel and his website). I want to list out two or three things that I have incorporated that I am really happy about.
I wake up every day between 5 and 6 am and I make sure that I am not spending the first hour on my phone. I have a toast and get out for my run and for me, this is the perfect way to start the day. I have considerably cut down the time I spend doom scrolling on Instagram or Twitter and I try and use that time to either read a book or watch something interesting that will help me grow.
I wasn’t sure I was ready for this but once I started writing down my thoughts every night before going to bed, I realized how important it was to reflect on your day and understand what is going on in our lives. We are sometimes just living every day and letting it pass by. This exercise of writing down what you’re going through is a great way to realize what we actually feel about something. It doesn’t need to be a page long detail about everything that you did in the day but more a journal of thoughts that crossed your mind and the feelings you feel and moments that had an impact. It’s very powerful to go back and read these things. I do this digitally, on OneNote by Microsoft and I have password protected that page. I still haven’t made this a habit and I have been missing quite a few days but I am sure that with time, I will make this a part of my routine.
Don’t Stress About Imaginary Things
Most times when we are anxious, we are stressing about things that have not happened. “He must be unhappy with me”, “They might ask me to stop working with them”, “She is upset with me”. These are all assumptions that we make and start going into this negative spiral of imaginary thoughts. I am learning to recognize this pattern and telling myself that these thoughts are assumptions and there is no guarantee that they will turn into reality. This has been a game-changer for me. Of course, like all the other learnings this is also something that I have not perfected and sometimes I let the negativity take over but that is ok. We can’t win them all.
I hope that you find something that you can relate to as much as I do when it comes to Stoicism. It’s something that I want to keep exploring and learning from and I am confident that it will make me a better human being.