Join 300,000+ other Stoics and get our daily email meditation.

Subscribe to get our free Daily Stoic email. Designed to help you cultivate strength, insight, and wisdom to live your best life.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

They Can’t Make You Like Them


They can break the rules. They can bury you in paperwork. They can lie. They can abuse their power. They can hurt people.

They can do all this impunity. It’s not just that they can. It’s that they almost certainly will. Injustice is not an aberration in this world, it’s practically the norm. Anyone who has tried to bring about change, who has tried to do the right thing, who has tried to follow virtue to its natural conclusions has found this out.

But you know what they can’t do? They can’t make you be like them. This is what Marcus Aurelius reminds himself at the beginning of Meditations. “No one can implicate me in ugliness,” he writes. Later in Meditations he observes that he can never truly be harmed by an outside force because outside forces have no sway over his soul, over his character.

Yes, the powers that be can stymie us but they can’t force us to like them…or be like them. That’s a choice we make. That’s something that’s in our power. That’s something that we can and must resist.

They’re going to do what they’re going to do—cheat, abuse, hurt, act with injustice—but we’re not. We’re going to stay at it. We’re going to keep going back. We’re going to be and do good.