The big question: what is the hardest thing to deal with while trying to become a stoic?
I don’t consider myself a stoic. Why? Because for me, those goals are unattainable. Sounds more than a bit defeatist, no? It’s a stoic trait to acknowledge what you cannot change. This seems like some loopy reasoning, but it really is not.
The goals of stoicism for me are to strive for. But every time my angry, uncool, and brittle side takes over I feel “but I’m angry/sad/moody, so how can I help it?”. As I cool down, I berate myself over this stupid mistake; that I let myself be overcome by emotion. It does not really do anything good. I say snarky things to Windows 11, bang my fists into the keyboard and swear loudly. Some stoic, eh? But, to a certain degree I know why this is hard. It’s not because I can do no better. Everyone can get angry, right?
Yes, that is true. But some people are just better at it, and for the rest of us, there is but one answer: others! I believe that that what keep us sane, is the support and restraint from others. Friends, coworkers, lovers, and parents. My point being that the framework of coexistence is what builds a better person. Stoicism may be the far end of such a road.
All negative emotions catch on, when no one is there to talk you down or support you. Think about all the loners in the world that go totally mental. Absolutely not all of them, but some do. And would having people to set limits for them, but more than anything giving them support have changed them to the better? I sure think so.
I’m a bit of lone wolf at least, so there is some self-recognition of a bit of projection on my part, I totally get that. But at some point, the people that NEVER talk to other real people or only ever communicate over forums, are at a greater risk than the rest of us. The restraint comes from temperance. It comes from a balance between filled needs and avoidance of overindulgence.
All I’m saying is that being a stoic is probably totally impossible in a vacuum, without others. Alone, we are all left to our own devices. My mother, herself close to a true stoic, says “you’re your own bad advisor”.
The idea of honest words from people saying hard truths but also showing kindness, saves any person from being knocked out of the “green areas” of the four tenements of stoicism.
Oh, and the answer? Alone! I think it’s being alone.