The Daily Stoic for October 14th, “Don’t Get Mad. Get Help”.
“Are you angry when someone’s armpits stink or when their breath is bad? What would be the point? Having such a mouth and such armpits, there’s going to be a smell emanating. You say, they must have sense, can’t they tell how they are offending others? Well, you have sense too, congratulations! So, use your natural reason to awaken theirs, show them, call it out. If the person will listen, you will have cured them without useless anger. No drama nor unseemly show required.”—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 5.28
As I am writing these lines, there’s a child somewhere in the next building screaming like mad while playing the darbuka drums. Here, “playing” is a very ambitious word to use, given that the kid is just banging the poor thing.
Today’s stoic meditation suggests that, instead of getting mad, grind our teeth and stay there feeling hate, we should ask them politely to stop being obnoxious. That’s a nice suggestion, and I agree with it… But there are some important “buts” I would like to discuss. 🙂
Don’t Get Mad. Get Help
I don’t have patience with kids. That’s a fact. Before getting into stoicism, I would get mad if there was a kid yelling at the restaurant in the next table.
I have a gift for being seated next to the only kid in every flight I take. It’s usually one of those kids who spend the whole trip screaming, yelling, and being a pain in the back. That still
However, you can’t always just be polite and ask the other person to stop bothering us.
Sometimes, like right now, the kid is just in another building, and honestly, I don’t feel like calling all the neighbors to find out where is Mr. Tito Puente junior, to kindly ask him to stop.
Other times, believe it or not, you meet people who don’t care about you at all. They don’t care if they are being obnoxious, or they piss you off. Or they may even be enjoying it.
So what do you do in those situations? Stoicism seems to rely on two things: your patience, or the ability to rationalize, forgive and stay over everything first, and the general goodness of mankind second. Unfortunately, in my case, I don’t possess the former and don’t believe in the latter.
So what do you do in those situations? Well, I have found out that getting angry or engaging in an argument -though unavoidable sometimes- doesn’t usually help. So stoically enduring the situation is, unfortunately, the only answer in those situations.
Really looking forward to hearing your opinions about today’s Daily Stoic, “Don’t Get Mad. Get Help”. How do you endure these situations where someone is being completely obnoxious and you can’t stop or avoid it?
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