A great deal of Stoicism is focused on our perspective. What lens do we bring to a situation? How do we make sure that those lenses actually allow us to see things clearly? What is our perception of a situation and what’s the gap between that perception and the reality of things?
“It’s unfortunate that this happened. No. It’s fortunate that this has happened and I’ve remained unharmed.” – Marcus Aurelius
Think of the last time when you failed at something—major or minor. A business deal fell through. A grade didn’t come back the way you had hoped. How much pain did it cause in the moment? But more important, now that years have passed, how much pain does it cause now?
Very little, right?
It’s important to remind ourselves how much of our pain is self-inflicted. How important and real it may feel in the moment, but how quickly it will fade and become irrelevant. Are you really as harmed as you think here? Or maybe better, remember:I am exactly as harmed here as I think.
This is why our perceptions matter so much. If we can realize that this ain’t so bad, it won’t be. We’re going to move on and forget about it in the future, so why not start that now?