WHEN thou art offended with any man's transgression, presently reflect upon thyself, and consider what thou thyself art guilty of in the same kind.
MARCUS AURELIUS. MEDITATIONS. Book x. 30.
WHENSOEVER any man doth trespass against thee, presently consider with thyself what it was that he did suppose to be good, what to be evil, when he did trespass. For this when thou knowest, thou wilt pity him; thou wilt have no occasion either to wonder, or to be angry. For either thou thyself dost yet live in that error and ignorance, as that thou dost suppose either that very thing that he doth, or some other like worldly thing, to be good; and so thou art bound to pardon him if he have done that which thou in the like case wouldst have done thyself. Or if so be that thou dost not any more suppose the same things to be good or evil, that he doth; how canst thou but be gentle unto him that is in an error?
MARCUS AURELIUS. MEDITATIONS. Book vii. 19.
Try to "colour" people's actions in the light of love and compassion. If we assume good intentions on the part of others quite often their actions are not as offensive or vengeful. It is often how we perceive them that influences how we react to their actions.ReplyDelete
Assuming the best motives of people. Most people act out of a sense of the rightness of their actions. Even though they may be mis-informed, or mistaken in their choice of actions, they are doing so out of an attempt to do what they believe to be a correct response. If they are in error, I need to see that I don't share that error. If I do, excuse them and adjust my own behaviour. If I don't, I likely once did, and can see their lives as travellers along the same road.ReplyDelete
The best tonic for yelling at crazy drivers is to recognize that we ourselves are crazy drivers at times.ReplyDelete
The same principle goes for most other everyday faults we find with folks. 'So and so is kissing up to the boss and hogs all the attention'. Well, YOU wouldn't be concerned if you weren't operating under the same valuations: namely, fear of rejection, etc.
This is great medicine and exactly what I needed. I've been struggling with jealousy the last few days over the success of a colleague. I didn't realize it until yesterday and when i did, it hit me like a ton of bricks.
Self-reflection is a wonderful thing. Thanks for this wonderful pairing of passages to spur it on.
I am reminded of the "speck in neighbour's eye, log in your own" adage when I read these passages. We quite often notice the faults in our "neighbour's" character because we are dealing or have dealt with the exact same issue in our own character. We need to turn our light inward and recognize that having faults is part of the human condition. Our challenge is to try to minimize our faults and react with patience to others and in a virtuous manner.ReplyDelete
We often attempt to act a Judge, even in cases where we are guilty of the same crimes. We somehow believe that if we can hide our sins by pointing to others, we will be safe. The truth is that we are only ever hurting ourselves by failing to be the best that we can be, and even our shame is against us. We need to stop living in fear, so much fear that we are willing to throw others to the wolves just to protect our own secrets. When we do this, the wolf is already in the fold, and it is us.ReplyDelete