So you’re angry. It shouldn’t be like this. It doesn’t need to be like this. It’s not fair.
When will it stop?
The Stoics have an answer. It might not be the one you want to hear, but it’s an answer. The answer is that this will stop soon. It always does. Everything does.
As Marcus Aurelius wrote two thousand years ago…
‘Keep in mind how fast things pass by and are gone — those that are now, and those to come. Existence flows past us like a river: the ‘what’ is in constant flux, the ‘why’ has a thousand variations. Nothing is stable, not even what’s right here. The infinity of past and future gapes before us.
So it would take an idiot to feel self-importance or distress. Or any indignation, either. As if the things that irritate us lasted.’
This is one of the reasons the Stoics were big advocates of “the pause” . Yes, this thing is angering you right now. But the truth is that it will be gone soon enough. And so will you for that matter!
Life is short. Do you want to spend it being upset? Most problems resolve themselves. Most bad news is followed, eventually, by good news. Most frustrations lessen with time. Use that to your advantage. Don’t give them more substance and permanence than they deserve.
The Daily Stoic
Well, that sums up my thinking this fine, hot morning, following several heated exchanges with my kids. Why do I get so angry in response to the behaviour and language of feisty, headstrong nine year old boy? What’s really going on with me? Why so irritated? What did I truly take offence at?
Oh yes, it was not one of my better parenting moments. Thankfully we resolved it by school drop off, but I have inner work to do. Marcus and his wise words bring comfort to my addled brain once more. Thankyou, my old dead Roman friend.
I’ll journal some thoughts about my anger and what may really be going on. Ah, life hey. What a never ending school of learning. Back on the horse and giddy up.