I’ve always desired to live my life by a Philosophy, a theory or attitude as a guiding principle for my behavior. It’s a source of great curiosity to me because, before I really explored my need for this, it felt like I was a protégé without the luxury of a mentor. It was as if I wasn’t leading my own way, but instead I was looking for someone or something to guide me.
Which made me a follower. When it comes to who you are, nobody wants to be a lump of wet clay.
That realization saddened me and served as a revelation as well. I looked hard at things and realized the many ways in which I tried to be someone or something that I am not. It took far too long, but eventually I developed the ability to be myself. Of course, that presented a whole different set of challenges. “Myself” was not a guy that I wanted to spend time with. I am working on that and it is a challenge that I am not taking lightly. In fact, it is almost entirely what I think, dream, read and write about. I am taking a particularly hard look at where the “follower” in me ends and where the unique individual in me begins. After much investigation, the invevitable conclusion was that I was not living a life and presenting a persona that was consistent to my core beliefs and desires.
In short, I didn’t know who or what the hell I am!
Thus began the most difficult thing I have ever done, taking a searching and fearless look into what really mattered to me. To do so required me to identify every way in which my life was ruled by convention and to then challenge it. The good news I think I have a better idea now. But I wish I knew how I was able to deny myself the liberation of living by my core values and beliefs, my very nature, for so many years of my life. Was I afraid of challenging the status quo?
I wasn’t in need of a great “philosophy of life”. No school of thought or set of principles is going to serve every situation. I believe that what I needed was consistency and I was in search of a means to maintain it.
I’ve learned a lot about myself of late. But learning is not enough. I must embrace what I have learned, live it and not shy away from it, and create real growth. As a good start, I am definitely defying convention, the very thing that made me a follower.
For the sake of brevity, I will not list all of the many ways that I have changed my thinking, I just want to touch on one. I always thought that I was complex. Yes, I know, all men say that. But as it turns out I’m very simple. Not Carl from Sling Blade simple, simple in that I don’t need or want much. I like things to be manageable, regardless of how difficult situations become. Simple to understand and consistent in what I stand for. Simple as defined by the familiar colloquialism “you get what you see.” If only there were a school of philosophy that embraced simple existence, harmonious and non-intrusive. One for those who want to live with the earth, not just on it.
Imagine my joy when I (re)discovered Stoicism! There IS a Philosophy that I CAN use and adhere to as I work towards the life I crave.
I have been a Stoic and didn’t know it!
2 thoughts on “Stoic and didn’t know it”
Nice but isn’t it a dream?
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Isn’t what a dream?