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Turn Trials Into Triumphs With the Stoic Secret of Amor Fati

The Stoic principle of Amor Fati can transform your approach to life’s ups and downs for the better

Every moment offers a doorway to deeper understanding and growth. As a student of spiritual teachings, I have explored various philosophies that guide us toward a more fulfilling existence. One such powerful principle is the concept of Amor Fati, or ‘love of fate’ in Stoicism. Now, Stoicism is an ancient Greco-Roman philosophy founded around the early 3rd century BC. It teaches the development of self-control and fortitude as a means of overcoming destructive emotions.

What is Amor Fati?

Dr Dharmesh Shah
Jennifer Baker

The principle of Amor Fati (meaning ‘love of fate’) does not merely ask us to endure what happens in life but to embrace it—to welcome everything, be it joy, suffering, victory, or loss, as necessary threads in the intricate tapestry of our existence.

Dr Dharmesh Shah, a practitioner of medicine, psychiatry, and holistic healing and Founder-Director of Holistica World told me, “Amor Fati encourages embracing everything that happens, viewing each event as necessary and beneficial. This Stoic principle enhances psychological wellness by reducing our resistance to reality and promoting resilience that in turn leads to greater peace and less stress.”

Instead of resisting adversity or excessively reveling in success, we see both as opportunities to deepen our understanding. Influential slave-turned-philosopher Epictetus’ teachings frequently emphasised the importance of aligning one’s desires with reality, a key aspect of Amor Fati, where one embraces the events of life as they come. Epictetus famously said, “Do not seek to have events happen as you want them to, but instead want them to happen as they do happen, and your life will go well.”

When we face setbacks or unexpected changes, the immediate reaction might be resistance. However, by applying the wisdom of Amor Fati, we can shift this reaction. Stoic expert and professor Jennifer Baker from the College of Charleston in South Carolina, US, who was a guest on my podcast about stoicism, had this to say, “Stoics thought that without anger and emotion and all that distraction, we would react quickly and efficiently like a well-trained soldier to difficult circumstances. If you can’t believe your sailboat will sink, you can’t believe there is a storm on a day that is promised to be sunny.”

This acceptance does not mean passivity or resignation. Rather, it is an active engagement with life, a conscious choice to see the value in whatever happens. As Prof Baker said, “Sometimes, people in tough situations actually stay still. However, if you have no distractions from what is actually happening, you accept that there is a storm, or a fire in the garage, you might be able to act in a focused way to mitigate the situation.”

The principle of Amor Fati (meaning ‘love of fate’) does not merely ask us to endure what happens in life but to embrace it—to welcome everything, be it joy, suffering, victory, or loss, as necessary threads in the intricate tapestry of our existence.

Dr Dharmesh Shah

Dr Dharmesh Shah, a practitioner of medicine, psychiatry, and holistic healing and Founder-Director of Holistica World told me, “Amor Fati encourages embracing everything that happens, viewing each event as necessary and beneficial. This Stoic principle enhances psychological wellness by reducing our resistance to reality and promoting resilience that in turn leads to greater peace and less stress.”

Instead of resisting adversity or excessively reveling in success, we see both as opportunities to deepen our understanding. Influential slave-turned-philosopher Epictetus’ teachings frequently emphasised the importance of aligning one’s desires with reality, a key aspect of Amor Fati, where one embraces the events of life as they come. Epictetus famously said, “Do not seek to have events happen as you want them to, but instead want them to happen as they do happen, and your life will go well.”

When we face setbacks or unexpected changes, the immediate reaction might be resistance. However, by applying the wisdom of Amor Fati, we can shift this reaction. Stoic expert and professor Jennifer Baker from the College of Charleston in South Carolina, US, who was a guest on my podcast about stoicism, had this to say, “Stoics thought that without anger and emotion and all that distraction, we would react quickly and efficiently like a well-trained soldier to difficult circumstances. If you can’t believe your sailboat will sink, you can’t believe there is a storm on a day that is promised to be sunny.”

Jennifer Baker

This acceptance does not mean passivity or resignation. Rather, it is an active engagement with life, a conscious choice to see the value in whatever happens. As Prof Baker said, “Sometimes, people in tough situations actually stay still. However, if you have no distractions from what is actually happening, you accept that there is a storm, or a fire in the garage, you might be able to act in a focused way to mitigate the situation.”

Stoic philosophers taught that it is not external events that disturb us, but our judgements about them. By embracing Amor Fati, we let go of these judgements. We stop labelling events as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and begin to see them simply as ‘what is’. Philosopher Seneca’s forced suicide by Roman emperor Nero is historical proof of his Stoic beliefs. Even in the face of death, Seneca maintained his composure, took leave of his friends, and complied with the emperor’s order without outward resentment or despair.

Roman emperor and stoic Marcus Aurelius wrote in his diary – which later became the book Meditations – “Everything that happens is either endurable or not. If it’s endurable, then endure it. Stop complaining. If it’s unendurable, then stop complaining. Your destruction will mean its end as well.” Integrating Amor Fati into daily life also enriches our experiences of success. “When we achieve something, instead of attachment to the outcome, we feel a profound gratitude for the journey. Success becomes not a source of ego inflation but a celebration of life’s abundance. You can apply Amor Fati to your life by reframing challenges as opportunities for growth, accepting uncontrollable circumstances, and focusing on positive responses,” added Dr. Shah.

Each challenge we embrace strengthens us, just as the wind strengthens the roots of trees. We become more adaptable, more robust, and more aligned with the flow of life. We learn not to fear the storm but to trust in our ability to navigate through it.

As we cultivate Amor Fati, we find that life becomes richer. We realise that everything, every event, every encounter, is a gift—an essential part of the whole. By loving our fate, we open ourselves to the limitless potential of the present moment. You become a co-creator of your destiny, participating fully in the unfolding of your life’s story.

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