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Loving, Even Wishing For The Bad Things

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“If I actually knew that I was fated now to be ill,” Cato the Elder famously said, “I would even have an impulse to be ill.” It is this strange line that inspired generations of Stoics, including his great-grandson, Cato the Younger, who would challenge Julius Caesar and inspire the American Revolution.

Others could fight fate. The Stoics choose to love it. For the younger Cato, this meant he could remain calm amid a tumultuous life, because no matter what happened, he could embrace it. In his time, he would face death threats, warfare, the cut and thrust of politics, and public humiliation. And through it all, he was able to accept—even love—whatever was handed to him. It meant that he could actually look forward to everything that happened, even if that meant getting sick.

Let us follow that lead. Instead of dreading what might happen, instead of resisting every so-called negative event, what if we embraced it all? Even sickness, difficulty, the unexpected and unforeseen. The end result is not weakness or passivity. On the contrary, it will be firmness and calm—freedom from the whiplash of everyday life because we know that no matter what happens, we will love it.