Change Only What You Can

Which is always only you


External events do harm us in the way we think they do.

As Epictetus writes:

“Man is disturbed not by things, but by the views he takes of them.”

Of course external things can cause literal or physical pain. But beyond that, much of our pain is what we harbor and choose. And what we believe we deserve. We make victims out of ourselves.

The pain isn’t even the actual pain at that point, but rather the subjective evaluation as something as negative. We choose not to grow, but rather dwell on the pain, reliving it by wringing it out over and over, rather than refocusing our attentions.

Cicero is quoted,

“We blame circumstances [for our sadness] when what we ought to be blaming is a deficiency in our own character.”

“Bad” things will happen to all of us. But we control how we respond — it’s the only thing we do control, and we’re the only ones who control it. We choose how we see something, and how we respond.

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