keep your fortress strong and impenetrable

keep your fortress strong and impenetrable
Photo by Steve Douglas / Unsplash
“No, it is events that give rise to fear—when another has power over them or can prevent them, that person becomes able to inspire fear. How is the fortress destroyed? Not by iron or fire, but by judgments…  here is where we must begin, and it is from this front that we must seize the fortress and throw out the tyrants.”
— Epictetus, Discourses, 4.1.85–86; 87a

We all have a powerful fortress deep inside us, something that protects our true self, our soul. This concept is called the “Inner Citadel” and it was first discussed by the ancient Stoic philosophers.

The Stoics believed that our inner domain is like an impenetrable castle, shielding the core of who we are. Even when we feel vulnerable to the outside world, this fortress remains strong and secure — unless we let it be breached.

The great Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, who was also a Stoic, said that “stuff cannot touch the soul.” In other words, no matter what happens to us on the outside, our inner essence remains untouched and indestructible.

However, history shows that even the mightiest fortresses can fall if those inside make mistakes. Sometimes, people let fear, greed, or the opinions of others weaken the walls of their Inner Citadel. When that happens, the enemy can come rushing in and take over.

So, the key is to guard your Inner Citadel fiercely. Don't let fear or the whims of others damage your fortress. Keep it strong and impenetrable, no matter what.

You have an unbreakable castle within you. Protect it, and no one can ever truly defeat you.