6. The best revenge is not to be like that.25. So other people hurt me? That’s their problem. Their character and actions are not mine. What is done to me is ordained by nature, what I do by my own. — Book Five
21. If anyone can refute me – show me I’m making a mistake or looking at things from the wrong perspective – I’ll gladly change.
It’s the truth I’m after, and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance. — Book Six
26. When people injure you, ask yourself what good or harm they thought would come of it. If you understand that, you’ll feel sympathy rather than outrage or anger. Your sense of good and evil may be the same as theirs, or near it, in which case you have to excuse them. Or your sense of good and evil may differ from theirs. In which case they’re misguided and deserve your compassion. Is that so hard?
71. It’s silly to try to escape other people’s faults. They are inescapable. Just try to escape your own. — Book Seven
13. Someone despises me.
That’s their problem.
Mine: not to do or say anything despicable.
Someone hates me: Their problem.
Mine: to be patient and cheerful with everyone, including them. Ready to show them their mistake. Not spitefully, or to show off my own self-control, but in an honest, upright way. Like Phocion (if he wasn’t just pretending). That’s what we should be like inside, and never let the gods catch us feeling anger or resentment.
As long as you do what’s proper to your nature, and accept what the world’s nature has in store – as long as you can work for others’ good, by any and all means – what is there that can harm you?
18. …And along with not getting angry at others, try not to pander either. Both are forms of selfishness; both of them will do you harm. When you start to lose your temper, remember: There’s nothing manly about rage. It’s courtesy and kindness that define a human being – and a man. That’s who possesses strength and nerves and guts, not the angry whiners. To react like that brings you closer to impassivity – and so to strength. Pain is the opposite of strength, and so is anger. Both are things we suffer from, and yield to.
…and one more thought from Apollo.
x. That to expect bad people not to injure others is crazy. It’s to ask the impossible. And to let them behave like that to other people but expect them to exempt you is arrogant – the act of a tyrant. — Book Eleven
1. Everything you’re trying to reach – by taking the long way round – you could have right now, this moment. If you’d only stop thwarting your own attempts. If you’d only let go of the past, entrust the future to Providence, and guide the present toward reverence and justice.
Reverence: so you’ll accept what you’re allotted. Nature intended it for you, and you for it.
Justice: so that you’ll speak the truth, frankly and without evasions, and act as you should – and as other people deserve.
16. When someone seems to have injured you:
But how can I be sure?
And in any case, keep in mind:
- that he’ s been tried and convicted – by himself. (Like scratching your own eyes out.)
- that to expect a bad person not to harm others is like expecting fig trees not to secrete juice, babies not to cry, horses not to neigh – the inevitable not to happen.
What else could they do – with that sort of character?
If you’re still angry, then get to work on that.
— Marcus Aurelius (121 – 180), Meditations