On Digging Deep | Marcus Aurelius
A short reflection on how to find goodness within | Temperance | Stoicism
Everything comes at a price. While we pay it, we can expect to reap the benefits.
And, as with any investment, we get compound interest.
The more we invest into a thing, the more effort we put into it, the better we become. New improvements layer themselves on top of the ones we already made. The past improvements unlock new perspectives for us and new abilities, which enhances our further progress.
We cannot expect to become the person we want to be without making an effort, being uncomfortable, and facing our own inadequacies.
Otherwise, we would already be who we want to be. But even then, chances are that this version of ourselves required some effort to be built. If we just stop doing whatever made us who we are, we must expect to change.
Realizing ourselves is hard, it requires constant digging of one sort or the other.
At times, it can be difficult to get to the goodness within us, we have to do a lot of digging. It can be frustrating, take a long time, and make us suffer. However, it is always worth the dig. As it’s not what we find at the end of the dig, what changes us and makes us better. It is the process of digging through it all.
We have to suffer through a certain amount of hardship to arrive at the point that we want to be at.
This opinion is often unpopular, since people do not like to suffer. People do not like to look inward, to acknowledge the faults in themselves that are holding them back. People like to externalize their misfortunes and rationalize their bad behaviors. Unfortunately, we cannot change what others will think to do, that is outside our circle of influence. We can maybe yell someone into submission, force them to do our bidding, but for how long will that work out? We will spend all our social capital on forcing people to comply, and then what? How long will that actually work for? How many people will stay by our side like that? How long can one force control in this manner?
We need to practice Amor Fati and accept what is given that we cannot influence.
We need to use the Inner Citadel to retreat into ourselves, to look inward, and realize where we can be better. No matter how shitty we think others are behaving. Since we only control our own actions.
Transformation can only be obtained by suffering through transformative events.
And, in accordance with nature, one needs to accept what has happened. One needs to reflect on the events. How did I react? Did I have a plan for this? Did I execute it well? How do I want to handle similar situations in the future? How am I feeling now and why?
Being mindful of oneself and accepting of one's feelings, to process them adequately, is essential. Otherwise, they will become suppressed and burst out one day, when we don’t want them to or make us sick.
Take some time this week to review a traumatic event you suffered or a time in your life in which you had to dig deep. Ask yourself how you dealt with it and what you learned. Is it still affecting you?
Transformation can only be obtained by suffering and confronting it. (Temperance)
Now I’d love to hear from you!
What situation have you dealt with where you dug deep?
Or maybe you have another great quote regarding Temperance? Don’t hesitate to submit it via this form or leave a comment 📝
Want more? Check out last week’s reflection on BestStoicQuotes