Learning about stoicism over 2020 helped me let go of a toxic friend last night.
Long story short, I had a friend who was toxic and narcissistic, I knew it was time to cut ties with her. So I did just that. I told her to leave me alone, respect my boundaries, blocked her, and moved on with my life.
This person was bad mouthing me to my own family. Basically trying to sway people’s opinions of me for how and why I cut them out while insulting me the whole ride.
I started to react like I usually do and felt all kinds of things bubble up inside of me. I’m angry, offended, and still wounded. It had been a friendship, after all, there’s still caring involved. But I remembered a key nugget of wisdom someone in the stoic community shared:
“Being a stoic doesn’t mean not feeling emotions, it means not letting yourself be controlled by them.”
So I took a deep breath and exhaled. I allowed myself to feel my emotions calmly. I felt them, thought about them for a few minutes, and then just let them go. It sounds cheesy but I felt like a weight had been lifted.
I told my family not to tell me what that person says anymore. How does it benefit me in any way other than adding stress? I don’t have anyone to prove myself to. If that person doesn’t think well of me after being a friend there is little to do to convince them otherwise now. My family was extremely respectful of this. I didn’t get impulsively drunk and rant to anyone that would listen. I didn’t feel the need to defend myself, to go off the rails and justify my actions to the empty air around me.
Today I woke up feeling great. No anger, no hurt, and no hangover. I really think using this method can change lives. I feel refreshed and like I can climb mountains now.
I am very grateful for this community.
I love this! I can't help but compare recent events in my life to what you wrote. I too have inexplicably "reverted" to my pre-Stoicism self a few times recently. You know, to use an old expression, my buttons got pushed. But reading what you did to regain control reminds me to stay the course too. Thanks for the reminder!
I definitely feel the magic in that. I’ve been thinking about it all day today, how just a couple of minutes spent adjusting my thoughts led to quick inner peace. I’ve always been an emotional person and I thought that meant being ruled by them. And when I found Stoicism I loved the philosophy but never thought I’d be able to put it into practice because I feel so much. But last night showed me I can do it and feel intensely doesn’t equate to reacting intensely. I’m honestly really excited to use this technique more.
I remember reading that quote as well! I wished I remembered who shared it because that was a simple but true little nugget. Good for you to experience that epiphany and allow that to relinquish all that stuff. Saying that as my ex was a narcissist so I totally understand how they function. Bravo for you to tell your family not to share any comments they make. There's a term for where narcissists try to rally people behind them in order to gang up on someone but I forgot what it's called. You did 2 things right. You stopped yourself from getting riled up over it and your narcissist former friend won't have your family's ears for long. After all, if your family can't tell you anything about what they said, your family will tire of their drama!!
Great post. I'm really proud of you! I'm do happy that you were able to move beyond that.
Can you recommend a good initial book, podcast, or YouTube channel as an intro to Stoicism? What got you hooked?
I have been a member of this sub for a while but haven't really got into stoicism. Not as much as eastern philosophies at least.
I struggle with letting go of grudges and complaining and bitching to anyone who will listen at times. What you wrote actually inspired me to ask as I think I could really benefit from this.
Thanks and congratulations again. Keep it up.
Congratulations! Getting that emotional control right at the moment is such a challenge. I've been struggling with that myself this week, so it's great to hear of your success.