Stoicism is a healthy filter
A former girlfriend told me that I was too stoic and didn’t have any emotions. I was always frustrated because I do have a lot of emotions and believe that I am actually sensitive. I have cried while simply admiring the turning leaves of fall, processing the wisdom of a great mentor, and for sure every time I watch Forrest Gump. Happiness, pride, excitement and compassion are healthy emotions to feel and express, and I certainly relish in them.
Fear, anger, anxiety, and negativity are emotions too, but they aren’t healthy. They are generally rooted in things out of your control. Stoicism helps me domesticate these kinds of toxic emotions.
These two quotes say it better than I can:
“A Stoic is someone who transforms fear into prudence, pain into transformation, mistakes into initiation, and desire into undertaking.”
― Nassim Nicholas Taleb
“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
The essence of stocism is:
- What is in my control and what is not? If it is not in my control, then why am I letting it control me?
- What good comes of this situation?
- Regardless of your initial emotion and feeling, we control how we process and respond.
Ryan Holiday, a fantastic author and expert on Stoicism, goes in depth about this on a podcast with Kevin Rose.