I was thinking about progress today and how far I’ve come on my journey from where I was and reflecting on criticisms that I set too much of a high bar for myself when it comes to personal conduct because I am disappointed when I fail to meet it. It’s a same situation perhaps when people say things like: “why do you want to lose more weight you’re already fine“. No, we set our own standards to live by and our own goals, it’s the only way to have integrity of the self. If we set our standards by others we will find ourselves trapped in moral dilemmas contrary to our own nature.
“You have to persevere and fortify your pertinacity until the will to do good becomes as disposition to do good.” – Letters from a Stoic XVI
It amazes me the standards other people put onto us and the expectations that we follow their standards of what it means to be in line with our nature. The only person who can truly tell us what is and what isn’t correct within our own minds is the directing soul. So being that we hold ourselves as the highest order within our own lives why do we put so much stock in the standards of peers who no little of what it means to be aligned with their own path let alone ours.
“Philosophy is nor an occupation of a popular nature, not is it pursued for the sake self-advertisement … It moulds and builds the personality, orders one’s life, regulates one’s conduct, shows one what one should do and what one should leave undone, sits at the helm and keeps one on the correct course as one is tossed about in perilous seas. Without it no one can lead a life free of worry. Every hour of every day countless situations arise that call for advice, and for that advice we have to look to philosophy.” – Letters from a Stoic XVI
People will ask you to lower your standards of the self and spirit but you should ask of those questions to why they would ask such a thing? Most of the time it will be out of concern, yet what concern is there for a mind free of the worries of the aggregate? What need is there to worry about you not worrying?
“You’re masking mental illness with philosophy.” – X
I disagreed with this statement. I have a mental illness that being anxiety and depression, the former causing episodes with similar symptoms to asthma. Philosophy is a key part of my recovery from this underlying condition, I use it to build myself a fortified fence along the cliff edge, fallen from so many times before into the dark only to have to pull myself up again with a ladder made from the same stuff.
Whether it be weight loss, weight gain, a speed record, a perfect soufflé or the stoic path – The Way -, we set our own standards. What matters to them should not matter to you. Working in the highest and greatest good of yourself and humanity always, your goals can scrape the stars, all you have to do is reach for them.
This post is going to remain short, the message is clear to you, to me, to us all.