Light metaphors occurring in Chinese philosophy and Stoicism are of special interest for the unique ways they channel potentialities of the self. In this paper I apply ideas from cognitive linguistics to examine selected structural features of these metaphors. I also build on these ideas by presenting a framework regarding affects to assist in disclosing what is at stake for differing Chinese and Stoic technologies of the self. The paper adopts a high-level perspective to see these broad philosophical implications, interleaving discussions of Chinese philosophy (mainly views associated with Daoism), Stoicism (bringing into relief important differences from these views), and contemporary research on socially constructed affects. This “triadic” comparative approach aims to shed new light on some root assumptions built into the projects of self-cultivation that are at the core of Chinese and Stoic worldviews.