Morning Stoicism: Greek Philosophy for Modern Life

4) Love humanity.

Marcus Aurelius : Roman Emperor


The roman emperor Marcus Aurelius writes this to himself in his personal journal while camping in the German forests on campaign at the edge of his empire:

“Say to yourself first thing in the morning: today I shall meet people who are meddling, ungrateful, aggressive, treacherous, malicious, unsocial. All this has afflicted them through their ignorance of true good and evil. But I have seen that the nature of good is what is right, and the nature of evil what is wrong; and I reflected that the nature of the offender himself is akin to my own — not a kinship of blood or seed, but a sharing in the same mind, the same fragment of divinity. Therefore I cannot be harmed by any of them, as none will infect me with their wrong. Nor can I be angry with my kinsman or hate him. We were born for cooperation, like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows of upper and lower teeth. So to work in opposition to one another is against nature: and anger or rejection is opposition.”

I work in an office and I understand that sometimes it can be easy to blame all your problems on others. When you’re being pushed to your limit in any job with deadlines and pressure from above it is easy to target anyone that is not pulling their weight in a team or who’s attitude is distracting, annoying, aggressive, counterproductive etc. But remember they probably think the same about you!

Look at all your colleagues and ask yourself, would you rather work with the ones that constantly belittle each other, talk badly behind each others backs, and are difficult in general to work with? Or, would you rather work with the pleasant mannered, easy going ones who seem to never be stressed?

Be the person you would want in your team and you will turn everyone around you into those kind of people! Not everyone can be changed, there will always be some who are difficult to get along with no matter what, but by loving them and treating with respect you may slowly break away at their negativity.

This applies to people in all areas of life, treat everyone you meet as if they were a long lost family member. Treat their flaws the same way you would with a child, showing them the correct way through your example rather than lecturing them.

“All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.”

― St. Francis Of Assisi

Be that candle. Be the spark, and light up the world one soul at a time!

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