Stoic emotions

What an oxymoronic title, you might think. Many often relate the term stoic, to being emotionless or indifferent to emotions, through no fault of their own of course. For that is how the definition of this term has evolved over time in the English language. From an observer’s perspective of the Stoics, this might seem to be an accurate term, but it’s an oversimplification really.

To understand why the Stoics seemed to appear like emotionless robots in spite of circumstance, let us peer down the deep and fascinating rabbit hole, that is the philosophy of Stoicism. The Stoics believed that everything falls under two broad categories — things within our control, and things beyond our control.

Categorising things this way makes it immediately obvious the pointlessness of worrying or stressing over something. If something is beyond your control, worrying does nothing at all as it wouldn’t change a thing. Whereas if something is within your control, you have the power of changing the outcome. So instead of worrying, take action and steer it toward your desired outcome.

The Stoics believed that one of the most powerful things we have control over is our faculty, our mind. They believe the mind to be a weapon, because when you acknowledge that you are in control of your mind, who can hurt you? No one can tell you what to feel, you decide for yourself how to respond to whatever life might throw at you. Nothing can hinder you from making the most out any situation.

He is most powerful who has power over himself.