“The best revenge is to be unlike him... - Deepstash
Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius

“The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.”

ROMAN EMPEROR MARCUS AURELIUS

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MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE

Question your assumptions about your critic's intention. Insults are not always meant to be harmful insults are designed to be harmful. The line between an insult and a piece of well-intended constructive criticism is almost always subjective.

Thus, to soften the impact of an insult, put yourself in your critic's brain and ask: What were they trying to accomplish with that comment?

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The Stoics viewed an insult from a trusted friend or mentor as something that would benefit them, a real occasion for self-improvement that should be received with gratitude.

You should pay extra attention to the input of the people you respect, because they have some important insights about you. An insult from someone you respect is an insult informed by experience, and it should be careful considered, even if it’s painful.

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Stoicism and insults

In ancient Greece and Rome, the Stoics (philosophers that taught the value of emotional resilience) advised their devotees to let insults go.

The Stoics weren’t pushovers, they just knew that not all insults were created equal. And most importantly, they knew how to decide which ones to ignore and which to take to heart.

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To absorb more fully what’s being said about you and really read it as an opportunity for self improvement, work to diminish sensitivity to your own imperfections.

This means you have to accept the idea that you have flaws, and that sometimes, people are going to point them out.

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RELATED IDEAS

Cafeteria Stoicism

Stoicism is made up of conflicting writings, especially around God, determinism vs free will, happiness vs avoidance of pain etc. Today most Stoic fans are practicing a cafeteria approach: picking up the few useful bits, modifying others, discarding the rest. 

But it’s important to know that this is what we’re doing. Because to the extent that we’re taking this approach, we’re not practicing Stoicism. We are abandoning it and relying implicitly on different (and often unidentified) philosophic ideas.

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Acknowledge that all emotions come from within

It is not outside forces that make us feel something, it is what we tell ourselves that create our feelings. 

Many of us want to place blame and responsibility on external objects because it’s easy to do, but the truth remains that all conflicts start internally, in our minds.

The next time you run into an obstacle and feel resistance, don’t look at what’s around you. Instead, look within.

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Stoicism

It was founded in the early 3rd century BC and revolves around 3 basic ideas: 

  • How life is brief and the world is unpredictable
  • How to be steadfast, strong, and in control of yourself
  • How dissatisfaction comes from impulsive reflexes rather than logic.

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