I found one of my favorite quotes ever in Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations earlier this semester. Re-reading the quote now, I see that it could help anyone going through a situation where they feel a need to “bounce back.”
“To feel affection for people even when they make mistakes is uniquely human.
You can do it, if you simply recognize: that they’re human too, they they act out of ignorance, against their will, and that you’ll both be dead before long.
And above all, they haven’t really hurt you.
They haven’t diminished your ability to choose.”
In relation to this quote and my current situation, I’ve realized that I’d much rather be the human that makes mistakes than the human that looks for the mistakes in others. I made my mistake, I’m paying the price, and I am willing to do whatever it takes to make the future better and brighter. We all could use a dose of that sometime.
If we are human and act “out of ignorance” or “against our will,” than it is true that not every action of ours is a proper reflection of our character. As author Bryan Stevenson said, “Each person is better than the worst thing they’ve ever done.” Now, I am realizing that there is no time to waste. Every and any moment spent in silence, sulking, or indignant in anger is a moment we’ll never get back. Time is always expiring. Yeah, we’re young and stupid sometimes, but all of us—especially women in college, can recognize that we are also old enough to know there is no point wasting time frozen in emotion.
On the topic of choice, I find it interesting that Marcus Aurelius makes being “hurt” synonymous with having a diminished “ability to choose.” When we are hurt, we are faced with difficult decisions, but still, we are ultimately able to make a choice, no matter what outside variables are clouding our vision. So when you or a friend is hurting, it might be a good idea to remind them that there are still choices they can make, good or bad. Nothing and no one can take that away from you.
What a wonderful idea it is remain strong in hard times, because no matter what, we all possess something that can never be stripped from us: choice.
We’ll all “be dead before long,” so let’s move forward. I choose to believe that nothing is permanent, and if I ever decide something is permanent, nothing can take that away from me.