During the course of life there are times when we might wonder why it can seem so cruel. The trials and tribulations we all go through can be very testing indeed. We read about the troubles of individuals, whole communities or society as a whole, and we wonder. We wonder why. Even so, dwelling on the negative is obviously best avoided, yet if we’re to live life to its fullest, we will never fully escape its harsh realities.
“Starting on a negative just then enables me to enforce the importance of its opposite: positivity. With positivity, comes happiness”
When reminded of the trials of life, it is possible to instantly neutralise the negative effects, this can have on us. We do this through switching over to a more stoic mindset.
A stoic mindset dictates that we must look to ensure our emotions don’t become the ruling influence in our lives. If we’re to be fully alive we must look to build self-control, fortitude, and a calm acceptance that life will inevitably have its trials. Although this is the case, self-control, is never gained through denial of the belief life can be cruel, but only through acceptance there will always be both negatives and positives, within it. Life and death, kindness and cruelty, will always coexist. It’s how it works here, and once we’re in a place of acceptance, it becomes a very powerful stoic approach.
In my mind, this goes some way to explaining why people who look to deny, or effect indifference to the negatives of life, don’t seem very genuine. They seem contrived, insincere and false. It’s almost as if life for them, is just one great big positive and funny film, they’re just playing a part in. The problem is, denial of life’s true nature, makes us very bad actors. Worse still, we might end up only ever being an observer of this film of life, and never fully engaging with it.
“A dull axe will do a poor job of chopping firewood, as will a dulled mind make of lighting the fires, of life”
We better fuel the fires of life when we recognise how fear smothers it. We dull our minds through seeking to avoid the harsh realities of life. This may be with drink and other drugs, or through denial, indifference or manipulative mind games played with others. In this respect, the stoic also recognises the importance of living a virtuous life; to which happiness, is intrinsically linked.
“A genuine appreciation and acceptance of life’s ups and downs, makes it, and us, more real”
So there we have it. Even though life can seem cruel and unkind, once we stoically accept it’s true nature, happiness is experienced through understanding how life must be fully lived without fear.