Stoicism and Forgiveness: What the Stoics say about Forgiving

I know how hard it is to forgive others who wronged us. Sometimes, it can feel like our ego is blocking our way of forgiving others. Stoicism, an ancient philosophy, teaches many things about forgiveness which I would like to share in this blog post. But first, let’s answer if Stoics forgive?

The Stoics forgive because it is an act of staying logical when someone did something wrong. Seeking revenge causes people to be illogical since it causes anger. To stay logical and to be happy, Stoicism urges us to forgive others since we have no control over other people’s thoughts and actions.

In this blog post, we will talk about the two things we can do when someone makes mistakes: forgive and seek revenge. Then, we will talk about what Stoicism says about each and why Stoics prefer forgiving rather than revenge.

Do Stoics Forgive

Do Stoics Forgive?

One of the facts of life is that people make mistakes. Everyone, no matter how careful we are, tends to make mistakes.

We aren’t perfect creatures. Thus, if we do not forgive others because of mistakes, our world will be filled with chaos.

The Stoics also believe in this fact. But they have a deeper reason for why they should forgive others and why people make mistakes.

The Stoics believe that people making mistakes usually lack the truth or knowledge. Furthermore, we have no control over their minds, and our beliefs are different.

When it comes to knowledge, there are things we know that they don’t. But, at the same time, there are things they know that we don’t.

Stoics stop themselves from expecting, especially from other people, since people’s thoughts and actions are outside our control.

Other people’s thoughts and actions are outside our control. Thus, relying on their actions for our happiness is not a good idea.

When we rely on other people’s thoughts and actions for our happiness, we tend to expect a lot. The problem is we can’t control them. Thus, we often feel disappointed.

The disappointment caused by relying on other people for our happiness causes more stress and anger.

Stress and anger are not healthy. These negative feelings make us feel uneasy. On the other hand, positive emotions make us feel at ease.

When we start to switch from getting our happiness from the things we can control, we can become more empowered and satisfied.

That’s why forgiveness is essential.

The Stoics believe that forgiving other people is the best thing to do especially when they did something wrong.

If we can’t control something, we shouldn’t care about it.

We need to focus on what we can control, which is how we react to these mistakes. When responding to mistakes, there are only two options.

Since we can control our actions, there are two things we can do when someone makes some mistakes: having revenge or forgiving.

I am going to dive deeper into revenge and forgiveness later. But, for now, let’s continue.

The Stoics believe that anger hurts not only the people around but also us.

When we are seeking revenge, we tend to be angry. But, unfortunately, this not only hurts other people, but it also hurts us.

Anger is not healthy. Seeking revenge is not healthy.

When we are filled with anger, we generally don’t feel well. Furthermore, we start not to think rationally when we are angry.

Remember that Stoics think logically. One of the things that cause people to think illogically is emotions.

Remember that anger is a strong emotion. It causes us to make irrational decisions leading to multiple problems.

For example, it can cause us to do things we don’t usually do, which might look good for our ego, but causes harm to our wellbeing.

Revenge causes us to be illogical. That’s why the Stoics prefer forgiving others, which makes them look good and doesn’t hurt their wellbeing.

Do Stoics believe in forgiveness?

The Stoics believe in forgiveness because it is a way to stay logical when someone commits mistakes. Furthermore, forgiving others is a way to stay happy by not letting bitterness drive our actions. By forgiving others and ourselves, we can start living a life with a clear conscience while preventing mistakes caused by emotions.

Earlier, we talked about revenge and why it is not ideal for Stoics.

This time, we will talk about forgiveness.

While revenge causes harm, forgiveness heals.

Generally speaking, we feel light and happy when we do the right thing. If we think about it, forgiving can be challenging, but we feel a sense of happiness by doing the right things.

The Stoics believe that conscience is essential in guiding our actions. By forgiving others, we can feel a strong sense of happiness via our conscience.

That’s why the Stoics believe that forgiveness heals. So instead of feeling heavy inside due to anger, we can start to feel light once we forgive.

Furthermore, forgiveness makes us rational. In general, forgiving others tends to be more sensible than seeking revenge.

Forgiving also puts us on higher ground. It also shows our empathy.

Remember that everyone makes mistakes. If we accept that, we should show empathy since some errors are not intended.

Moreover, it might be caused by a lack of knowledge. Knowing the mistakes means you know more than the person.

However, some mistakes are intended, especially if a person hates us.

To them, we should instead not care about their actions since we can’t control our actions.

Sooner or later, they might understand what they’re doing.

A Stoic should not care about things they can’t control. So, likewise, since we can’t control people’s actions, we should not mind them.

Forgiving or not minding them makes you look superior to others. Revenge is acting like a child trying to put others down at the cost of your own happiness.

If you think of it that way, you can start to feel at peace despite the mistakes others make to you.

Do Stoics seek revenge?

Generally speaking, the Stoics don’t seek revenge as they prevent expecting things from other people. That way, they can easily forgive people when they make mistakes. The Stoics believe that mistakes are a part of life and everyone can commit mistakes. That’s why they prefer living peacefully by forgiving and not seeking revenge.

I already talked about how revenge makes us angry, leading to more mistakes and illogical actions.

A Stoic must be cautious in not letting their emotions justify their actions. That’s why Stoics prefer to forgive rather than seek revenge.

If we think about it, since the Stoics believe that the lack of knowledge commits mistakes, we should instead feel pity for the people who made mistakes since we are more knowledgeable than the person.

For example, when someone steals from you, you might feel anger and seek revenge.

However, if we look upon it, stealing causes a person to feel guilty, staying in their minds for a long time.

According to Stoics, a clean conscience is a key to happiness. Following that, we should pity the person instead.

Revenge causes unnecessary stress. This is also one of the reasons why I made a blog post about Batman.

Many people say that Batman is a Stoic since he acts logically on all occasions. Even to the point of preparing ways to counter his friends on justice league.

However, while Batman acts like a Stoic, not everything about him follows the Stoic principle.

One of my points is that he became Batman because of his past experiences, which led him to seek revenge on bad people.

If you’re interested in my blog post about Stoicism and Batman, feel free to check this post: Is Batman a Stoic?

But back to my point.

The Stoics tend to choose peace over chaos. They choose logic over emotions. By that simple explanation, they prefer forgiving others than seeking revenge.

What’s next? For more information on Stoicism and Forgiveness, you may view this blog post: Tips to Forgive Yourself as a Stoic.

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Recommended Books

The next thing is books. Books are, for me, one of the cheapest ways to get invaluable information. We can learn personal development, finance, career, relationships, and many more from books.

Here, I will be listing my favorite books in different categories.

  1. For Beginners7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey – Personal development has a lot of concepts and ideas to learn. Thus it can be really hard for beginners to know where to start. Thus, I recommend this book since all the basic concepts of personal development are here(except finance, check what I recommended for that)
  2. ProductivityThe One Thing by Gary Keller – This book teaches us the power of focusing on one thing which is the ultimate source of productivity. The concepts taught are what I am using to constantly publish YouTube videos while maintaining this website.
  3. Busy?Make Time by Jack Knapp – This book teaches us how to make time for the things we love. The concept is really simple but I think that makes it a book worth reading.
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Take this advice as a grain of salt.

I don’t recommend buying Audiobooks one by one. I mean, audiobooks can be quickly finished by listening while working out or doing some mindless tasks.

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My Audiobook Recommendation will always be the same as my book recommendations, but I personally like The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins. I like how she is so casual while reading her book.

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