The Stoics remind us that there really is no such thing as an objectively good or bad occurrence. Situations require our participation, context and categorization in order to be "bad".
Our reaction is what actually decides whether harm has occurred. If we raise our voice because we feel we’re being confronted, naturally a confrontation will ensue.
But if we retain control of ourselves, we decide whether to label something good or bad.
Marcus Aurelius was reminded that no matter how much he conquered, no matter how much he inflicted his will on the world, it would be like building a castle in the sand—soon to be erased by the winds of time.
Eventually, all of us will pass away and slowly be forgotten. We should enjoy this brief time we have on earth—not be enslaved to emotions that make us miserable and dissatisfied.
Most people resist the idea of a true self-estimate, probably because they fear it might mean downgrading some of their beliefs about who they are and what they’re capable of.
As Goethe’s maxim goes, it is a great failing “to see yourself as more than you are" and it is equally damaging to “value yourself at less than your true worth.”
We underestimate our capabilities just as much and just as dangerously as we overestimate other abilities. Cultivate the ability to judge yourself accurately and honestly. Look inward to discern what you’re capable of and what it will take to unlock that potential.
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