I'm participating in my Stoic Week 2015. Join me at ModernStoicism.com!
This will be my first time participating in a stoic week. They have been doing them since 2012, and I'm only just hearing about it. I've been happy to learn that I've been practicing Stoic principles for years. I just never related them to Stoicism. The connections seem obvious to me now.
For instance, a fundamental Stoic principle is to only focus on the things that are in my control. Most of the time, this means that I need to focus on my own behavior, attitudes, and emotions. This is definitely the case in my relationships. I can't control the way other people think or feel, but I can control the way I react to those people. I can also let them know about how their behavior and words affect me, emotionally.
This requires the use of "I" language, rather than "you" language. For instance, if someone says something that is hurtful to me, rather than responding with an insult or assumption about their character ("You're a jerk"), I can say, "I feel insulted when..." At that point, it is up to them to respond in a mature way.
This is something I've been learning and practicing for years, and a tool that has helped me is the Serenity Prayer: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference." Essentially, this is a Stoic prayer. It emphasizes two of the four cardinal virtues of the Stoics (wisdom & courage), while also reminding me to reflect on what is and is not in my control.
I hope to have more posts on Stoicism in the future. Because of my interest in virtue ethics, Stoicism is right up my alley.