‘Be like the rock; though the waves keep crashing over, it stands unmoved, and the raging of the sea falls still around it.’ – Marcus Aurelius
In the article, 4 Practical and Unique Ways to Attain Inner Peace, I discussed the main factors that lead to inner peace. Today, I’ll discuss how embracing hardships is the secret to inner peace.
After studying stoicism for a while, I realized that the stoics attained inner peace because they embraced hardships. They valued hardships, and therefore, they never feared the possibility of future difficulties.
They believed hardships enabled them to grow stronger, and they argued that great people attained greatness because of the numerous hardships they went through. Epictetus, one of the famous stoics, wrote, ‘What would become of Hercules, if there had been no lion, hydra, stag or boar, and no criminals to rid the world of? What would he have done in the absence of challenges? What would have been the use of those arms, that physique, and that noble soul, without crisis or conditions to stir into him action?
Earlier, I never tried to embrace the stoics’ attitude towards hardships. I believed I would never experience hardships because I embraced virtue and spiritual exercises such as prayer, meditation, and yoga.
However, after facing hardships despite embracing spirituality, I realized that they are part of life and they affect everyone, including the righteous. Besides, I noticed that resisting hardships and feeling that I should not encounter them because I embraced spirituality prevented me from attaining inner peace. I then realized that the stoics were right when they said, ‘the best way to attain inner peace is to be ready for hardships and to accept them as part of life and an opportunity for growth.’
When you are ready for hardships, you’ll attain inner peace because you’ll never fear them. As well, when you perceive hardships as an opportunity for growth, you’ll never be depressed when you face them because you’ll strive to gain from them.
To adopt the stoic perception of hardships, we must understand that hardships are part of nature because all animals face difficulties. A baby wildebeest often struggles before learning to walk, a young male lion often relies on scavenging after older male lions chase it from its pride, and a chick has to break the egg for it to get out of it.
Hardships are, therefore, part of the flow of life, and we have to accept them. Accepting them results in inner peace because we’ll stop worrying when we anticipate them, and we’ll never be depressed or stressed when they arrive.
PEACE BE WITH YOU
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