Kindness: Marcus Aurelius

Stoics are not unemotional: they value emotions that make the world a better place.

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© Dave DuBay

From Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Speak the truth as you see it, but with kindness, humility, and without hypocrisy (8.5).

Wash yourself clean with simplicity, humility, and indifference to everything but right and wrong. Care for other human beings. Follow God (7.31).

Some people, when they do someone a favor, are always looking for a chance to call it in. Some don’t, but they privately think they’re owed something. But others don’t even do that. They’re like a vine that produces grapes without looking for anything in return. They are a human being helping others (5.6).

Kindness is invincible, provided it’s sincere. What can even the most vicious person do if you keep treating him with kindness and gently set him straight without pointing fingers. Don’t do it sardonically or meanly, but affectionately—with no hatred in your heart. Speak directly even if there are other people around (11.18).

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. So none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry or hate them. 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 others, to turn your back on them: these are obstructions. (2.1).

Practice really hearing what people say. Do your best to get inside their minds (6.53).

When you face people’s insults or hatred, look at their souls. Get inside them. Look at what sort of people they are. You’ll realize there’s no need to impress them. But you should still be kind to them. They are by nature your friends (9.27).

Take care that you don’t treat inhumanity as it treats human beings (7.65).

Take care that you don’t treat inhumanity as it treats human beings (7.65).

Published by Dave DuBay

Dave is a Florida man. He blogs at https://fratresestoics.com. He's also at twitter.com/Dave_DuBay.

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