Gossip, attacks, free, firings, assaults, or broken relationships, they are actions that can affect us psicoemocionalmente and beyond to take care of regulate our emotions, there is nothing we can do to improve. However, it would seem almost impossible not to stop to feel frustration, anger and even courage against the people that are making us feel bad about ourselves.
To address this situation, the stoics, especially the philosopher Epictetus used to say at the time of the second century, in the then Nicopolis (western Greece), that only we are responsible for our words, behaviors, actions, efforts, mistakes, ideas, and consequences all of the above; the rest of the others is not our responsibility, and, therefore, we are not obliged to react about it. According to Epictetus, it is crucial to understand the difference between what is and what is not the responsibility of one and act in function of this, to become a being that is psychologically invincible, able to overcome against the high and low of the fortune.
This practice is not a matter of ignoring the actions of autrui, but to become aware of their own and feel in control of ourselves. In the words of Epictetus:
We are responsible for some things, while other we are not. The first include our judgement, our impulse, our desire, aversion, and mental faculties in general; the latter include the body, material possessions, our reputation, and status –in a word, any thing that we do not possess the power to control it. … [S]i got the right idea about what really belongs and what doesn’t, then you will never be under the yoke of the obligation or of the obstacles, you will never be criticized or blamed by anyone, and any thing you do will be in a conscious way. Doesn’t have a single rival, no one will hurt you, because it will be a test against the damage of any type.
This means that once you pay attention to the actions of one’s self, the dichotomy of control begins to have numerous applications in the day-to-day. Because somehow the external goals begin to become accomplishments internally through the effort, the dedication, the motivation, the significance.
For example, to work daily and improve your CV for a possible job-promotion: if the goal is to get the new job, nothing or no one ensures that you can get, as there are independent variables of the effort –such as the competition between the employees or even the possibility of not being liked, for whatever reason, the head. Accordingly, to convert the target external internal goal prepares us mentally to accept anything positive or negative with equanimity, knowing that sometimes the universe favors us and other times not. So they explode in anxiety or anger over the situation would be to add unnecessarily self-harm emotional, compromising the happiness and serenity of one’s self.
In other words, this does not mean to stop striving or to have objectives in the short, medium and long term, but to continue doing activities that provide us with stability, improvement and transcendence, reducing the expectations and the disappointments. It moves the focus of attention towards what one really is capable of carry out, such as spend a rigorous training to any hobby or studies, to develop alternatives to show the love and affection in a close bond, and put in practice the tools of meditation and exercise, etc, The results of these actions are not under our control, but our attitude was fair in relation to the ups and downs of life. After all, they say, once you learn how to be in mastery of himself is able to control his reactions and, in turn, be in the domain of the environment.