“Even though virtue may afford us pleasure, still we do not seek after virtue on that account: for virtue does not bestow pleasure but bestows pleasure to boot.” – Seneca
This life, especially for those of us who have chosen to constantly strive to become the best people we can in the time that we are afforded, is difficult. It is a constant struggle to make the right decisions, to control our emotions, to discipline our wills, and to do what we can to enjoy the process.
But there is joy along this path as well. There is a joy and a sense of internal peace and calm that is unlike anything we could experience without the discipline and control over ourselves. There is pleasure in remaining calm and detached in a situation that would anger or overwhelm us if we chose to react instead. There is a pleasure in seeing the results of our effort, even small results as we move along the path.
And staying on the path, recognizing that we only really have control over our own actions and thoughts, brings lifts us above the stress and worry that plagued our lives before we started on the path. Reminding ourselves that the external things that happen to us, the way people treat us, the way they act, and the things they say have little to do with us and are outside our control.
Better to focus on the internal, control ourselves, and enjoy the process. There is an immense amount of pleasure to be had when we finally have control over ourselves.
Not that we do it for that. But it is a nice bonus.
virtus fortis vocat