Lessons From Philosophy That Changed My Life

Most people overestimate what they need to be happy.

Photo by Mohamed Al Masry on Unsplash

I always used to believe that buying materialistic items would help me to live a happy life.

I was wrong.

Most of us spend our lives going to bars, shopping at the mall, and doing anything else that brings us temporary relief from the monotony of our daily routine. However, we rarely stop to think about what it genuinely takes to live a happy life.

Right? We think “if I can buy a new phone… find my ideal partner… or go on a beautiful vacation, then I’ll finally be happy.” But sooner or later, you realize that you’re trapped in a perpetual cycle of dissatisfaction from which you cannot escape.

Like you, I’ve been searching for ways to live a better life. But I’ve discovered that the only way to become genuinely happy is by letting go of external circumstances so you can focus solely on the events within your control. In the words of Marcus Aurelius:

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”

So below are several lessons from philosophy that changed my life. Each of them helped me to improve my mindset and live with a daily sense of gratitude. I’m sure they will do the same for you, too.

Stop Worrying About Things You Can’t Change.

Having struggled with social anxiety for the majority of my life, I know what it’s like to continually worry about the future and other aspects of life that you cannot control.

But I’ve discovered that it’s pointless worrying about circumstances that you cannot change. Because even if you initially perceive it as a negative experience, there’s always an opportunity to learn from the event & become a much stronger person in the future.

For example, I’ve recently stopped worrying about being judged as I know that I can’t control other people’s way of thinking.

So instead of being afraid of meeting new people, I’ve learned to overcome my social anxiety by being optimistic & accepting the fact that I can’t please everyone.

It’s important to remember that you can’t change the actions or words of other people. So if you want to live each day with less anxiety, letting go of external events is a great place to start. In the words of Epictetus:

“There is only one way to happiness, and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.”

Empathy Is The Foundation Of Great Relationships.

For the longest time, I got into a lot of arguments as I never understood the rationale behind the actions of other people.

For example, I’d often question why people didn’t agree with my views, without even considering how differing circumstances could lead to them having another opinion.

But a few months ago, I stumbled across the following quote from Seneca, which helped me to become a lot more empathetic in my daily life: Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.”

Instead of trying to force someone to agree with me, I’ve learned that listening to each other’s point of view is a great way to improve your relationships.

Because when you’re willing to avoid arguments by understanding why other people think a specific way, you’ll quickly notice that most people are happy to reciprocate.

Your Opinion Is The Only One That Matters.

When your self-worth is reliant on external validation, it’s incredibly easy to let negative comments from other people get to your head.

So I’ve learned that you’ll never be happy until you stop letting the opinions of other people dictate your self-worth. In the words of Marcus Aurelius:

It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinions than our own.”

So every day, ask yourself: “What can I do to become happier with my current self, and let go of any external events outside of my control?”

That’s all you need to do to live a better life.

I write for people who want to live a happier life in the modern world. Let’s chat: Mattlillywhitemedium@gmail.com

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