I heart quotes like most all cool people heart consuming Taco Bell. A lot. So when I determined I would change my life, the countless books I read, and the sources I sought, gave me a lot of oh so sweet advice – which is good.
And above all, WITHOUT A DOUBT, the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT quote I have EVER read, and the one that contributed MOST to my recovery from teenage depression is this epicness from the (I assume) deceased Marcus Aurelius…
Apple bottom jeans. Boots with thou fur. The whole club, they was looking at her. She layeth upon the floor. Next thing you know. Shorty got low, low, low…Low, low, low…
Ah wait. Kinda embarrassing…
For me, in my journey, one REAL quote stands above all. THIS Marcus Aurelius quote:
Accept whatever comes to you woven in the pattern of your destiny, for what could more aptly fit your needs. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
When You Don’t Accept Life, You Accept Pain
When the conditions of my life deteriorated, my trust in life itself collapsed. When I found those I loved hurting and beyond my help, when the one I trusted and confided in above all others left, when all I hoped for and worked for seemed so utterly beyond what I was able and likely to achieve, my belief in the justice of life disappeared entirely.
Life wasn’t “fair”. What had happened to me was the “worst thing”. Life could be no more “horrible”, or more “unbearable”. My fortune could be no more “cursed”, or any more “unreasonable”. I didn’t “deserve” it. I didn’t want it.
I resisted. And because of it, I got everything I deserved.
Because I refused to believe that I was in any way worthy of, or participatory in, the sadness of my life. I was convinced that I was simply the unluckiest in the world; that the worst things happen to the best people, that what I experienced was far beyond what someone as good or honest as myself deserved.
I refused to believe that it was happening at all. It wasn’t the way things were supposed to happen. It wasn’t the way things were planned. It didn’t fit the story and narrative my mind had written and in which I had entrusted my faith; of me being likable and lovable, of the world being an equitable and just place, of things always working out in the end.
Yet there I was with my sad ending. And that reality hurt far more than anything that had happened to me, or anything that I had done to myself.
I hated it.
It ruined me emotionally and mentally. I became worse and worse, my depression stronger and stronger. My broken home became my broken mind.
Destiny and Accepting ALL That Happens
When I read Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, what he said affected me tremendously.
I realized then that we HAVE to accept ALL that comes to us. Not because everything happens for a “reason”, but because all happens as it does, and could have happened no other way. Not because any particular outcome was “destined”, but that each outcome is reality, and as such is the rightful result.
Whatever its cause, our life is inevitably the just and true effect.
I realized that everything occurs as it is meant to because it occurred as it did; that whatever we may experience or encounter in life – the good and the bad, the joyful and the painful, by the hands of others or our own – is not only the right thing, but the best thing…to ourselves, our way of life, our very consciousness. In everything that may happen lies an opportunity, a lesson not yet learned, a false belief to be shattered, a way to move forward.
But many choose to ignore it, as I did. And their life soon becomes a minefield they dare not tread, where every new obstacle is a misfortune, and every new problem becomes the last they believe they can bear.
And that’s how sadness gets the best of you.
That’s how the bad parenting, and divorce, and abuse defeat the teen who only wants out of the broken home they cannot escape.
That’s how the firing, and lost promotion, and lost wife defeat the father who only wants to provide for his family.
That’s how the infidelity, and misbehaving children, and pressure at work defeat the mother who only wants to provide a better future for the kids who don’t yet appreciate her.
That’s how ANYBODY finds themselves in pain, in the obvious teen depression of adolescence, or the quiet depression of adulthood; victims of broken homes and broken minds, of this problem or that misfortune.
They resist. And it hurts.
Turning Misfortune Into Opportunity
Aurelius’ words changed me, though, because I FINALLY accepted.
Where before I whined about my fortune and cursed my life, now I saw only the chance to improve myself. I no longer hated what had happened, but instead looked forward to what would happen; how I would be better, how I would be stronger, how I would take control of what I could control, and make things right for me regardless.
Gone was the negative thinking. In its place was hope, and action.
It was no longer: “This happened? Why, oh why? Why me?”
It became: “This happened. Oh well. Now this must be done.”
Trust and Faith That I Will be Okay
In Aurelius’ wisdom I found acceptance.
I found the words that calmed my nerves, and the faith that assuaged my fears. I found trust that things WOULD work out; that I WOULD be okay, that all that happened was in fact the best that COULD happen. I found belief in the fact that there is good in bad; that you are provided every opportunity to improve yourself; that the world will give you all you require to become the person you desire.
Whether you like it or not. Whether it hurts or not.
Because it is what you need. Because it is what is happening now.
For what could more aptly fit your needs?
What do YOU think?
Leave a comment, yo! How does Aurelius’ words affect you? How will you use them to improve your life? Spill it already…and share the post too