Epictetus was among the brilliant philosophers who strove for inner peace and realized that we can only find it by reducing our desires. For as he wrote, ‘Freedom is not procured by a full enjoyment of what is desired, but by controlling the desire.’
Desire is good because it moves us out of our comfort zone, enables us to improve our lives, and encourages us to work on becoming the person we were meant to be. However, having too many desires is bad for us.
Today, most of us can’t find inner peace because we have too many desires. We desire the latest gadgets, designer clothes, a spacious home, fame, and riches. The many desires we have, which are mainly ego-driven, prevent us from finding happiness because they cause anxiety when we wonder whether we’ll attain them. They also make us vulnerable to envy and depression when we compare ourselves to people who have attained them.
Thus, we suffer more when we desire more. Many ancient Africans found inner peace because they had few desires. Most of them were mainly concerned with eating, drinking, sex, art, and spiritual devotion. Conversely, we never find inner peace because we have too many desires, which we won’t fulfil even if life allows us to live up to 100 years.
Besides, no matter what we achieve, we create other desires, which we believe we must fulfil for us to be happy. For this reason, we always feel incomplete and dissatisfied.
We must reduce our desires if we want inner peace. We must only desire a few things strongly even when these things appear impossible to attain. Reducing our desires will enable us to attain inner peace because we will only be bothered by a few things.
After reading this article, you must write down the few most important things that you truly desire, decide to only focus on them, and ignore ego-driven desires. Ego-driven desires will prevent you from finding inner peace. Besides, attaining them doesn’t guarantee long-term happiness. Attaining them will only strengthen your ego or desire to compete, preventing happiness and peace.
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