There is a Stoic principle that transcends philosophy and embodies psychology and self-care. The notion that it is not the thing that has happened that disturbs us, it is our view or judgement of the thing that disturbs us. The meaning of this is that all kinds of things happen to us, and to others, every day. Different people, with different experiences and different mindsets view these events very differently. What might seem catastrophic to you, could actually feel like a relief to someone else, and even a great day to another. While we often think that we are not in control of our feelings, it is critical to become trained to understand that what you feel comes from what you think and therefore can be shaped by your discipline of thought. If you practice seeing what happens to you as separate from who you are — both good and bad — and discipline your mind to viewing unpleasant events as a trial to be conquered you can develop less distrubed feelings about these events. In this manner, we can think of the founders of stoicism as the first cognitive behavioral therapists. Discipline your mind and your emotions will follow.

Choose not to be harmed — and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed — and you haven’t been.”

Marcus Aurelius

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