“The necessity of circumstance proves friends and detects enemies.” – Epictetus
We have all heard similar expressions about bad times showing us who our friends really are. What we need to think about in relation to our goal of mastering self control and focusing only on the aspects of life that we have control over, is that our friends choose to remain friends with us and there is little we can do about their decision making.
Instead we should be looking at quotes like these in terms of our own behavior. Would we be the friend or the enemy when the necessity of circumstance starts to sort everyone out? It is likely true that the majority of us would prefer to be the friend.
We become the friend in bad times by remaining truly and genuinely interested in the people we share life with. If we take an interest in the lives of the people we interact with, we can not help but see them as they are, unique and wonderful people.
When these unique and wonderful people are going through hard times, we can’t help but identify with them simply because we have taken a genuine interest in them and their lives. During these times we also have the beautiful gift of detachment, meaning that we can see more of the big picture of what they are going through. This puts us in an excellent position to offer the appropriate amount and type of assistance without making the affected person feel pitied.
When the circumstances arise, let us make the effort to be the friend and not the enemy.
virtus fortis vocat