In the final decade of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius’ life he wrote a series of personal philosophies intended for himself; these would later be published as Meditations. Some are quotes, most are prescriptions for self-improvement. Aurelius was a student of stoic philosophy. Stoicism deals with emotional intelligence, mind over matter, being tied to nature, and exercising philosophy through actions over words. Meditationsis repetitive of it’s central themes. Considering that this was essentially his notebook, he was most likely engaging in behavior modification through written affirmations. Here are some of the highlights from selected themes.
Rise Above the Crap
Tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own—not of the same blood or birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him. We were born to work to together… To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are obstructions.
Choose not to be harmed—and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed—and you haven’t been.
We all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.
It can only ruin your life only if it ruins your character. Otherwise it cannot harm you—inside or out.
The tranquility that comes when you stop caring what they say. Or think, or do. Only what you do.
It’s silly to try to escape other peoples’ faults. They are inescapable. Just try to escape your own.
Leave other peoples’ mistakes where they lie.
That kindness is invincible, provided it’s sincere—not ironic or an act.