Prepare Yourself For Negativity
The Daily Stoic meditation for April 6th. “Prepare yourself for negativity”.
“When you first rise in the morning tell yourself: I will encounter busybodies, ingrates, egomaniacs, liars, the jealous and cranks. They are all stricken with these afflictions because they don’t know the difference between good and evil. Because I have understood the beauty of good and the ugliness of evil, I know that these wrong-doers are still akin to me . . . and that none can do me harm, or implicate me in ugliness—nor can I be angry at my relatives or hate them. For we are made for cooperation.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 2.1
While this might not necessarily be true, most probably you are going to interact with a prick today.
If you are unfortunate enough to work at a cubicle, this person might even be a colleague or your boss… Someone you see every single day. If you don’t, there’s always one out there in the city… Waiting for the perfect chance to creep up on you.
Of course, this person may think you are actually the jerk. I might as well be that guy. That’s what I don’t really like about Marcus Aurelius quote and today’s meditation. I don’t quite believe in absolute truths, or that I am the “good” boy, surrounded by evil ignorants.
Instead, I think we all have different ways of seeing the world, and even when they match, we may be having a bad day. Nobody’s immune to that.
Prepare Yourself For Negativity
So instead of judging others as “ingrates, egomaniacs, liars…”, etc, we should try to understand that they simply are different people. Their priorities, values and opinions are different from ours.
That doesn’t mean we have to endure them, or even understand them. It’s enough if they don’t ruin our day.
Do I think we need a morning ritual to prepare ourselves for negativity? Not really. I tend to dislike that kind of things. We are human beings, not robots executing scheduled algorithms.
In my view, it’s enough to have a positive attitude towards life, and be more sympathetic with others, specially when they are being disgusting. I have always been good at the former, but not so much at the latter. Contrary to what I initially thought, Stoicism has really helped me be more understanding to other people.
As an example, today I was looking at the window… there’s an amazing rainy day here at Riga. At the other side of the window, there’s a beautiful tree and some art-nouveau buildings, and the rainy atmosphere just gives the place a gorgeous feeling.
I commented that to the girl in front of me, and she answered with an angry tone: “Pfff, I hate this weather! I Just came back to Riga hoping not to see this!”. And I couldn’t help but smile… The poor girl was genuinely disgusted by the same weather that had kept me mesmerized for minutes.
One thing that I have discovered is that even the slightest good deed changes the world around you. When I see someone doing something good for someone else, I feel happier and more inclined to do a good deed myself. I think our good deeds have the same effect on everyone, so… why not taking any opportunity for doing it?
Today’s Daily Stoic, “Prepare yourself for negativity”, suggests us to prevent ourselves every morning of the possible negative people we’ll face during the day.
I don’t think that’s necessary or realistic. Instead, what I do is keeping a positive attitude towards others and trying to be more sympathetic with them. There’s power in even the slightest of good deeds. Don’t just trust me, verify it yourself.