Marcus Aurelius Wisdom on Dealing With Emotional Events
Marcus Aurelius was one of the most well-known and well-respected and burgers in Roman history. what is interesting is that Marcus Aurelius was not born into difficult means. He was born into a wealthy and politically prominent family. Early in life, Marcus Aurelius took a large interest in the study of stoicism, which is where he gets most of his wisdom and philosophies about life that has been carried on to today. One of the larger aspects of stoicism and Marcus Aurelius teachings are the concepts of emotional control and self-restraint. This is why we are deciding to take a look at some of his old pieces of experiential knowledge to help us manage times of emotional hardship.
“The best answer to anger is silence.”
Anger strikes all of us, some more than most. The problem with this is that rage does not yield controlled and intelligent action. Anger fuels passionate and rash decision making that very often results in mistakes that could’ve been avoided if the anger was controlled. Very often, we believe that we must take action whenever anger is triggered within us. It is very easy to believe we are justified in the action we are taking because of the heightened level of emotion that we are experiencing.
Marcus Aurelius urges us to take a step back. He realizes that nothing good comes out of rage and anger. He tells us to keep quiet when we are triggered. If we are able to hold ourselves during our heightened emotional state, we would be able to calm ourselves down and look at the situation from a rational point of you. From there we would be able to determine a proper course of action that comes from logic rather than rash emotions.
“It is not events that disturb people, it is their judgements concerning them.”
Events are not good or bad inherently. They are just happenings. We are the ones who give events their meaning and significance. For example, there are millions of people who die every day, and it does not disturb us one bit most of the time. Why would it? We do not know these people. We do not have any emotional attachment or experiences with these people. For example, there are millions of people who die every day, and it does not disturb us one bit most of the time. Why would it? We do not know these people. We do not have any emotional attachment or experiences with these people. Their passing would not mean much to us. However, if one of our loved ones or someone that we are close to dies, it is devastating. We marked it as a tragic event in our lives. This is not to say that a loved one dying is not tragic. It is simply showing how events are neither good or bad, only their interpretations by us give them their value.
And the good news is that we can use this to our advantage. We can recognize that the events that happened in our lives are not due to some divine intervention working against our favor. They are just events. They are just happenings. We are the ones who give them their power. If we do not wish to be affected by the more minor, seemingly disheartening, events in our lives, then we simply do not give them a tragic meaning.
“He who follows reason in all things is both tranquil and active at the same time, and also cheerful and collected.”
Here Marcus Aurelius reinforced his notion of emotional control and the use of reason. He explains how it is better to both look at life and takes action for the state of reason and logic rather than heightened emotion. If we are able to take a step back and think things through, we would be making much more informed and intelligent decisions and having much brighter and grateful views of our current situations.
While it may be difficult at times to literally control our emotions, we can at least know not to act on them. We can know not to make any definite decisions based on them, good or bad. We need to base our actions, decisions, and behavior on reason and logic despite the emotions coursing through our hearts.
“How ridiculous and how strange to be surprised at anything which happens in life.”
Another element in stoicism is the practice of preparing ourselves for future traumatic events when life is in it’s more easy to deal with times. When we seem to be posting without too many difficulties, we are supposed to mentally prepare ourselves to what may happen in the future. We do not know what tomorrow holds for us. We do know that absolutely anything can happen. We should not be surprised when it happens to us. We should be prepared and be preparing for these possible events so, when they come, we will be more equip to handle the situations if they do come.
“Don’t hope that events will turn out the way you want, welcome events in whichever way they happen.”
This is a point to lead a life without expectation. When we expect certain things to happen, it often leads to our disappointment when things do not go according to plan.
This piece of wisdom tells us that we should accept events as they come to us and work from there. If we set our expectations for the future, then we go into the future ill-equipped for what may happen instead. We have to accept everything that life throws our way. If we are able to accept all aspects of the future, then nothing can let us down. There can only be pleasant surprises.
“Remind yourself that it is not the future or what has passed that afflicts you, but always the present.”
This is one of my favorite quotes by Marcus Aurelius. It reminds us not to stress too much about the future. Whenever we become overwhelmed with emotion at what the future might hold, it is important to remember that it is not actually the future that is making us feel this way. It is something that has happened in this exact moment that has triggered this emotion. The negative fantasies of the future are only the side effects of the emotional trigger that has been set off by something in the present. It is our job to dissect and figure out what has happened in this exact moment that triggered us to start thinking about any time other than this.
We can think about literally any aspect of our lives in a negative emotional state, and we will think about it in a negative way. This is why it’s so important to take a step back, remember that it is something in the present that is affecting us and to use logic and reason to figure out what that is.