Dying Daily #206: Not Our Business

“When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: the people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own – not of the same blood and birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him. We were born to work together like feet, hands and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are unnatural.”

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Other people are many things.

They are mean and shady and self-absorbed and difficult.

Other people will do many things.

They will cheat you and lie to you. They will lie about you and criticize you and try to bring harm into your life.

None of this has anything to do with you.

None of this can actually affect you, the you that lies behind all of these things, the you that is beyond the things that other people say and do and think.

What they do is not your business. Only your response to it is.
What they say is not your business. Only the truth of it is.
What they think is not your business. Period.

Any time spent focusing on what other people are saying or doing or thinking is wasted time because these things are beyond our control.

We can respond to the things they bring our way, but it is our responsibility to respond kindly and rationally.

Other people’s actions do not us give a free pass on our own.

A person who is suffering tries to bring suffering to others. There is no need for us to let them.