Friday – this week I am grateful for Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius was Roman Emperor from 161 to 180. He wrote a series of Meditations, or thoughts addressed to himself, for his own self improvement.

Wisdom comes in many forms

One of the aphorisms contained within these writings is translated as:
‘if you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment’.

What I am grateful for this week is having imposed upon myself the mental discipline to remain silent. I have revoked the permission I had given to certain situations and recent injustices to cause me pain. I refused them access to me and to my family. In short, I controlled how I responded by not rising to met these challenges with anger or upset or distress. I met them with a cold, dignified silence. I did not respond.

What interests me is the reaction of others to this. When expecting a certain response from another, to not get it is far more unsettling than getting it. Consider how you feel when someone doesn’t laugh at one of your jokes. In a scenario involving heightened emotion, controlling your response tightly so that it is calm and non-reactive is immensely powerful.

In the face of some potentially uncomfortable and infuriating situations this week, I was cool. I was calm. I was courageously silent. It was powerful.

This week I am grateful to the Stoics. You can only control how you respond. Be calm.