Be like the promontory against which the waves continually break, but it stands firm and tames the fury of the water around it. – Marcus Aurelius
What does that mean?
This is about being the rock in the storm. It is about being stable and strong while the world goes crazy around you.
It is easy to go with the flow. Sometimes, the swirling water seems to be unstoppable. But it can be done. We see people doing it all the time. We look up to them as if they were special.
Yes, they are special, but you can be special as well. All you need to do is find your center, and sand up to the storm. Yeah, that makes it sound easy, and can be, if you are committed.
This quote is urging us to be the example, rather than the victim. Be the stones against which the waves hurl themselves, and stand firm. Be there that others may take shelter in your strength.
Why is being strong important?
In this case, we aren’t necessarily talking about how much weight you can lift, but how sturdy and durable your mind and emotions are. What kind of stress can you lift, what kind of irritations can you endure, and how many problems can you solve, before you break down? How strong are you?
The waves in this quote represent every type of stress, irritant, or problem which life throws our way, or which we stumble into, unbidden. If we are not strong, we are swept away, and lose our ability to protect ourselves, much less shelter anyone else. This strength, like all others, is built on repetition.
By practicing with small issues, you can build your strength, and your ability to endure the more significant issues. With practice, the waves that once threatened to wash you away become mere splashes around your ankles. Your strength will both shelter and inspire others to stand against the waves as well.
Everyone needs a port in a storm, and not everyone will be able stand against the wind and waves. Sometimes what would sweep you off your feet is nothing to another, and they can shelter you. We each have our own strengths and vulnerabilities. Together, we can stand against anything.
Where can I apply this in my life?
Are you the rocks on which the waves break, or do the waves break you? Even if you are not yet the immovable object which scatters the storm, you can become it, with some effort and a lot of practice. But without that strength, without that endurance, without that attitude of survival, it is going to be tough.
Consider how your life would be if every minor issue is a problem which threatens to drown you. What would it be like if even the slightest issue was so heavy it threatened to crush you. That would be pretty rough. But you survive these small things, so you have a foundation to take on bigger things.
In my experience, three major things stand out as important in weathering the storm. The words you use to describe the situation is the first. Your attitude towards the situation is the second. Your ability to endure discomfort is the third. Together they form the basis for my strength. What is yours?
How you use words is important. Did someone make a poor decision, or did that (insert string of swear words) stab you in the back? Do you feel the difference in you, even without real words, or any real involvement in the situation? Yep, words are that powerful. Is your back killing you, or is it a little bit sore? Big difference, right?
What your attitude is is also important. This is the emotional version of the ‘words matter’ issue. If you are scared or otherwise magnifying the emotion, it will tend to weaken you. If, instead, you are certain of your ability, you stand a better chance of standing strong and breaking the waves, not the other way around.
How you react to minor scratches or scrapes? To some, the tiniest scratch is the source of much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Others don’t even notice it until later. And that’s just the physical side. How do you handle the emotional scratches? How do you handle the stresses and other irritants in your life? The tougher you are, the stronger you will be.
Together, they overlap and intertwine. The words you use impact your attitude and your toughness. What your attitude is can also change how you select your words, and how tough you are. How tough you are impacts what words you use to describe what you are going through, as well as your attitude.
Ultimately, it is a decision. Early on in most difficulties, we decide if this is something we will endure, or something we won’t. If we make the habit of chosing to endure that which can be endured, we build our strength and our ability to judge what we can endure. Over time, we get stronger and better. It is but a choice.
We all have some strength. We have endured countless ‘little’ waves over our lifetimes. Some are more powerful than others, but have endured them. The question isn’t which waves have tossed you about, but which you have endured and why were you able to endure them? What is the basis for your strength?
From: Twitter, @AureliusQuotes
confirmed at : http://books.google.com/…The Thoughts of the Emperor M. Aurelius Antoninus… number 40, page 139
Photo by Kevin Cole