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The ultimate phrase on … self-awareness

Both ancient Stoic philosophy and modern therapeutic approaches prize self-awareness. Here's why The story goes that the good Roman philosopher-emperor Marcus Aurelius employed a servant to observe him round. The person had just one job. Every time anyone bowed to the emperor, or mentioned one thing in reward of him, the servant would whisper in his ear: “You’re only a man. You’re only a man.” Whether or not this achieved something isn’t clear, however it was an indication that Marcus Aurelius  was no less than making an attempt to apply what he preached. In his Meditations, he wrote: “These are the traits of the rational soul: self-awareness, self-examination, and self-determination. It reaps its personal harvest. It succeeds in its personal goal.”

The enduring recognition of Stoic philosophy is right down to some eternally interesting notions that we would apply in apply. They may even be truths.

Some would now be categorised as ‘tender abilities’ and there’s even an excessive amount of overlap with fashionable therapeutic approaches to non-public behaviour. They give attention to serving to us to know the strengths and weaknesses we possess, how we would harness and adapt them to work together with others in higher methods, reply to occasions appropriately and enhance our lives typically.

And to do that we should first change into self-aware. We mustn’t child ourselves. One of many early philosophers who vastly influenced Stoic thought was Heraclitus who wrote: “Self-deception is an terrible illness and eyesight a mendacity sense.”

The Stoic answer to such deceptions is to have a look at them with totally different eyes. Fashionable practices like cognitive behaviour remedy undertake the identical strategy. As Marcus Aurelius mentioned: “You’ve got energy over your thoughts, not exterior occasions. Realise this, and you will see energy.”

Probably the most distinguished trainer of late period Stoicism was Epictetus, a disabled former slave who lived almost 2,000 years in the past, but is credited with inspiring fashionable behavioural therapists. He noticed self-awareness and a extra common consciousness of what makes for an excellent human as central to bettering ourselves and our affect on others.

“Then what makes a lovely human being?” he requested. “Isn’t it the presence of human excellence? In case you want to be stunning, then work diligently at human excellence. And what’s that? Observe these whom you reward with out prejudice. The simply or the unjust? The simply. The even-tempered or the undisciplined? The even-tempered. The self-controlled or the uncontrolled? The self-controlled. In making your self that form of individual, you’ll change into stunning—however to the extent you ignore these qualities, you’ll be ugly, even for those who use each trick within the e-book to look stunning.”

That is taken from the brand new concern of IN journal. Out tomorrow. Or for those who’re studying it after tomorrow, out now. 

Picture: a fact window. That is a gap in a wall, particularly created to disclose the layers or parts inside. In a strawbale home, a fact window is used to remind occupants that the partitions are literally manufactured from straw. Picture by Pengo

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