It’s How You React That Counts

One of the key ideas in stoicism is to focus only on the things within your control. You can’t control how something will happen, and things can go wrong all the time, but you can control how you react to it.

Reacting badly has a lot of consequences, particularly when you let your emotions consume you and take actions you would otherwise not take. You might be frustrated by a series of unexpected events, or angered when something unfortunate happens. You might be tempted to destroy or break stuff or say mean words to others. But think about what would happen a week later, you would have to pay for all the things you broke and suffer the consequences of strained relationships.

Is it really worth it? Was the thing that angered or frustrated you so important that you’re willing to pay extra by taking it out on others? Put it another way, when something bad happens to you, do you take pleasure in worsening it by poisoning yourself or engaging in further self-harm? I hope not! Learn to control your reactions, for the ability to control how you react is one of the best ways to lessen the burden of bad news.

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