I remember reading a passage in my early 20’s and becoming enraged. I couldn’t remember the exact wording so I looked it up:
“But if you suppose that only to be your own which is your own, and what belongs to others such as it really is, then no one will ever compel you or restrain you. Further, you will find fault with no one or accuse no one. You will do nothing against your will. No one will hurt you, you will have no enemies, and you not be harmed.”
The Enchiridion, by Epictetus
I remember thinking: how dare he suggest that no one had harmed me! Whether out of my control or not, it still hurt. Who was this man to dare to deny me my suffering!?
This was long before therapy and I was in the thick of my pain – victimized by my parent’s choices and also some of my own.
In my rage, I failed to see the ingenuity of the claim that provoked so much fury, and the reason for my reaction. Of course, the irony of getting offended by someone telling me that it was my view of things that offended me was not missed in retrospect.
It just goes to show that sometimes the most important message of wisdom one can receive for their life struggles takes not only being offered, but also being prepared to accept. Often the most necessary step to take to avoid faulty reasoning is the most challenging, first you gotta be ready to admit you made an error.
For years, the dominant motivation I utilized was fury, but I had grown so weary of this destructive dynamic. It was exhausting, and not at all making circumstance any easier.
Am I actually able to achieve happiness despite what fate had so coldly given me? That’s a resounding YES.