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Marcus Aurelius' Morning Mantra on how to prepare for dealing with unpleasant people!


Ben Wardle | @benwardle_


In Book 2 of his meditations, Marcus Aurelius reminds himself this:


"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 or 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 obstructions"


2000 years later, I'm sure we can all relate to what Aurelius writes about dealing with 'meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly' people. Wherever we go, we are - as a simple fact of life - going to encounter some rather unpleasant characters. We are going to deal with rude, selfish, self-obsessed, deceitful, angry and obnoxious people.


What should we do in these inevitable situations? Should we get ourselves worked up, take the situation personally, and let these people completely destroy our happiness and inner peace? As hard as it may be in practice, we must resolve to make sure this is absolutely not the case! We must remember that, no matter who we encounter or endure, none of these people can hurt us. And, as Aurelius puts it, none of these people can implicate us in their ugliness (in other words, drag us down to their level). Not unless we let them.


We must realise, as Aurelius writes, that to feel anger at someone or to turn our backs on them is ultimately an obstruction. It is an obstruction to our own happiness, inner peace and prosperity. It is detrimental to our wellbeing and success. Therefore, we must try - no matter how hard it is - to not let these people get to us. We must resolve to not let them get us down or dull our sparkle. We must try to remember, in the words of Michelle Obama, that 'when they go low, we [can] go high!'


Don't let other people dictate your mood or state-of-mind. Take back the power and control over your own emotions. Don't live your life at the mercy of other people's behaviours; make it your mission to be the captain of your own ship and the master of your own destiny! Remember that every person you meet is simply another human being, just like you. Remember that they are mortal, just like you.


If you stop giving them so much power over your mood and over your life, they will stop having it - it's literally that simple! Remember that nobody can hurt you, unless you choose to be their victim. You are strong, you are powerful and you are the master of your own destiny! So prepare yourself for those unpleasant characters that you will encounter, and prepare yourself to rise above their behaviours. Tell yourself in advance that you will not - under any circumstances! - allow them to get you down. Be ready to rise above it, be ready to calmly work through it. Don't let anybody intimidate, anger, or upset you - the power is in your hands, not theirs.


Believe in yourself, know your worth, and take a deep breath. Anybody trying to drag you down is already beneath you. Hold your head high, and reach for the stars.

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