“Everything has two handles, the one it can be carried by and the other by which it can not be carried. If your brother acts poorly towards you, do not lay hold of the handle that reminds you he has acted poorly towards you. This is the handle by which this can not be carried. Instead, grab hold of the handle that reminds you he is your brother and you were nurtured and raised together. This is the handle by which this can be carried.” – Epictetus
Choices. It all boils down to choices. We do not get to choose how people act towards us. That is not up to us. Sometimes they will act poorly. Sometimes they will act despicably.
We choose how we handle the way people act towards us. We can choose to respond in kind. We can lose our tempers, feel hurt, and defend ourselves in an attempt to make them see how they are acting is hurtful.
What does that accomplish? How many times can we lose our tempers and have people realize that they are acting poorly towards us? The answers are; nothing and never.
Instead we do well to maintain our composure and our life’s rhythm. Not only because more often than not, being the calm in the face of other people’s poor behavior is the best revenge. But most importantly because by maintaining our life’s rhythm and refusing to allow the actions of others to disrupt that rhythm is the best way to stay happy. It is also the best way to accomplish the tasks we have in front of us and to be successful. Who would we rather follow? The person losing their temper and acting poorly or the person weathering the behavior and maintaining their composure? Who would we rather be?
Let’s focus on what we control. We control us.
virtus fortis vocat