“The condition and characteristic of an uninstructed person is that they never hold themselves accountable for the good and the bad that they experience whereas an instructed person expects all of the good and bad to come from himself.” – Epictetus
Back to the idea of sticking to what we can control and using that to control the way we experience the world.
By going through life focused on what we have control over, recognizing what we don’t have control over, and then distancing ourselves the amount required to see the difference between those things we give ourselves the ability to respond appropriately to the difficulties and luxuries we encounter in life.
By recognizing that we don’t have control over the way other people choose to act makes it easier for us to deal with people when they are acting poorly towards us. It also makes it easier for us to keep ourselves in check when people praise us or defer to us in difficult situations.
That is not to say that good or bad things aren’t going to happen to us. It is just meant to highlight that when good things happen to us, it is important for us to step back, recognize what role we played in achieving this outcome, if the outcome was something we want to replicate in the future it is worthwhile to reinforce the actions that shaped our role , but it is equally important to remember that in all likelihood, we did nothing special. Nothing anyone else wouldn’t have done in the same situation. We need to do the same thing when bad things happen as well.
Bad things also require us to remind ourselves that while the situation we are in is difficult and there is possibly no good that can come from it, it is our choice to be the victims of our circumstance. It is important for us to recognize that when bad things happen to us, even if we put ourselves in this position, even if these bad things are the actions of people we know or are close to, it has little to do with us as people.
This is, of course, easier typed than practiced and it was not that easy to type.
virtus fortis vocat