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How Powerful Was Marcus Aurelius, the Father of Stoicism?

Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius was Roman Emperor. Picture Credit score: Deposit Images

Marcus Aurelius: A Nearer Look

Marcus Aurelius is broadly thought to be the daddy of Stoicism. He was a thinker and Roman emperor whose quotes are almost unavoidable on social media. Stoicism relies on the concept advantage and honor needs to be pursued whilst you endure the pains and hardships of life with little to no criticism. In a time of pandemics and financial hardships, it’s little marvel why Stoicism has made an enormous comeback in fashionable instances.

Historical past remembers Marcus Aurelius as a philosophical powerhouse. But, in actuality, Marcus Aurelius is simply one of many well-known classical philosophers who adopted the beliefs of Stoicism. He actually outlined what it means to be mentally powerful, however how powerful was he?

Would Marcus Aurelius be capable to take up modern-day troubles with the identical stoic spirit that he did whereas he was emperor of Rome?

Was he bodily powerful, mentally powerful, or simply somebody who wrote about it in his journal?

Let’s take a better take a look at the life and classes of Marcus Aurelius.

Bodily Toughness

You’ve in all probability seen a bodybuilding submit on social media with a quote from Marcus Aurelius. His stoicism quotes are sometimes used to assist inspire individuals to push themselves additional within the gymnasium. One of the vital fashionable exercise quotes is that this one: “Reject your sense of harm and the harm itself disappears.” – Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations.

You may’ve additionally seen somebody posting about their tireless exercise routine with the caption: “You will have energy over your thoughts – not outdoors occasions. Understand this, and you’ll discover power.”

From his well-known quotes, you’d assume that Marcus Aurelius might completely squash a troublesome exercise routine, however was he a bodily imposing man in his actual life? Nicely, as a army man, Marcus Aurelius wasn’t precisely a troublesome soldier like Valerian or Maximinus Thrax. The reign of Marcus Aurelius was troubled with rebellions and overseas uprisings from the Parthians and Germans. There isn’t any surviving file of Aurelius himself doing any of the preventing, however he led a vigorous army marketing campaign to reassert the dominance of Roman rule.

In response to Britannica, Marcus Aurelius wasn’t a person of strong bodily well being. A few of his well being issues included chest and abdomen pains, poor urge for food, and issues sleeping. He had to deal with a continual ulcer and each day drugs.

So, it’s secure to say that Aurelius’ bodily well being didn’t maintain with the fashionable picture of a troublesome man. Though he wasn’t an imposing fighter or army determine, his struggles to retain good well being actually benefitted from the beliefs of Stoicism. He might face up to bodily punishment and he continually handled the idea of his personal mortality.

“If you come up within the morning consider what a privilege it’s to be alive, to assume, to take pleasure in, to like …” – Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations.

“Consider your self as lifeless. You will have lived your life. Now, take what’s left and reside it correctly. What doesn’t transmit gentle creates its personal darkness.” – Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations.

“Don’t act as should you had been going to reside ten thousand years. Demise hangs over you. Whilst you reside, whereas it’s in your energy, be good.” – Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations.

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Psychological Toughness

When you’re combating tough individuals in your life or tough conditions, then Marcus Aurelius quotes can actually be useful. He typically spoke about ignoring negativity from others and focusing by yourself sense of vanity. Aurelius was a proponent of internalizing problematic conditions and focusing your consideration on issues that you could change by ignoring issues that you could’t change.

Marcus Aurelius was a Roman emperor in the course of the Golden Age of Rome. He got here from a outstanding political household; almost everybody held some form of excessive workplace earlier than or after Aurelius got here to energy. His transition to energy was peaceable and he was fashionable among the many individuals he dominated over. So, why all of the brooding stoicism quotes from his writings?

Associated: 7 methods to extend psychological toughness

Marcus Aurelius confronted daunting diplomatic challenges. His writings in The Meditations may very well be thought to be notes to self. He wasn’t a lot as the daddy of Stoicism as he was the scholar of the philosophy. All his well-known quotes about being mentally powerful had been his means of cultivating these habits inside himself.

“When one other blames you or hates you, or individuals voice related criticisms, go to their souls, penetrate inside and see what kind of individuals they’re. You’ll understand that there isn’t a must be racked with anxiousness that they need to maintain any specific opinion about you.” – Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations.

“Little or no is required to make a cheerful life; it’s all inside your self in your mind-set.” – Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations.

The Hyperlink Between CBT and Marcus Aurelius

Some would argue that with out Marcus Aurelius we wouldn’t have Cognitive Behavioural Remedy or CBT. It’s a sort of remedy that has been confirmed efficient in opposition to despair, anxiousness, phobias, and suicidality. In CBT, there’s an underlying idea that your ideas, actions, and emotions are all linked. CBT implores you to problem unfavorable perception techniques and ideas to create a brand new actuality for your self. CBT focuses in your present scenario, not a lot your previous, and the method of creating methods to interrupt out of unfavorable patterns.

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Donald Robertson, the creator of Tips on how to Suppose Like a Roman Emperor, has made an intensive research on the lifetime of Marcus Aurelius. He praises Marcus Aurelius for his contribution to philosophy, psychotherapy, and the idea of psychological toughness. He additionally acknowledges the connection between the Stoics and fashionable Cognitive Behavioural Therapists.

In an interview with DailyStoic.com, Robertson famous that, “Greek and Roman Stoicism impressed cognitive remedy, as we’ve seen, which is definitely identified to be an efficient method to dealing with ache. The Stoics clearly distinguish the sensations of ache and discomfort, which they view with neutrality and indifference, from our emotional misery in response to ache, which they view as, no less than partially, below our voluntary management and price enhancing.  Most individuals really feel annoyed with ache, concentrate on it, and wrestle with it emotionally, and even by way of their behaviour. The Stoics educate a radical acceptance of ache, which is definitely in step with fashionable evidence-based psychotherapy.”

Psychological Toughness is within the thoughts. Picture Credit score: Pexels

Emotional Toughness

One of many prevailing elements of Stoicism is anger administration. The truth is, Marcus Aurelius himself struggled to manage his anger. There may be a complete part of his work, The Meditations, which offers solely with anger administration. So, this e book was a self-help journal for Aurelius.

“From Rusticus, I gained the concept I used to be in want of correction and remedy for my character,” he wrote.

Marcus Aurelius was a Roman emperor, and that top workplace would definitely have moments that challenged his means to manage his emotional resilience. Stoicism was a terrific means for him to redirect his power to issues that mattered probably the most. As an alternative of rising up in anger, he might problem the ideas and emotions to see in the event that they rang true.

“Each time you’re about to seek out fault with somebody, ask your self the next query: What fault of mine most almost resembles the one I’m about to criticize?”

And right here’s one other:

“One of the best revenge is to not be like your enemy.”

Marcus Aurelius clearly wished to domesticate a way of emotional toughness in himself. It’s one thing that he struggled with in his personal life. The widespread publication of his struggles with emotional toughness makes him worthy of the accolades bestowed to him by later historians.

So, How Powerful Was Marcus Aurelius?

Though Marcus Aurelius will get a lot of the credit score for being the daddy of Stoicism, he wasn’t the originator of the idea. Aurelius discovered Stoicism from Epictetus, Plato, Zeno, Sextus of Chaeronea, and different philosophers that got here earlier than him. But, he excelled at advertising and marketing it to the remainder of the world as a result of he was a Roman emperor.

Marcus Aurelius benefitted from dwelling within the time of Roman greatness generally known as the Golden Period. He wasn’t a very exemplary statesman or army commander. His philosophy is fashionable now, however it borrowed closely from the philosophers that got here earlier than him. Marcus Aurelius’ stoicism is all about conquering anger, overcoming self-doubt, reigning in dangerous habits, and coming nose to nose with one’s personal mortality.

These are interior demons that males grapple with each day. So, the phrases of Marcus Aurelius have numerous worth for the fashionable man despite the fact that Aurelius wasn’t the powerful man that historical past paints him to be. He was resilient and handled private adversities in a really public means. That alone makes him a mannequin for contemporary males to comply with.



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