Marcus Aurelius and “The Good Life“

amelia phoenix desertsong

Individuality is the most important thing in leading a good life. The greatest step is finding people who accept you for what you are and can live with both the good and the bad things about you. The opinion of others should not matter all that much.

While it’s wonderful for many people to have a good opinion of you, it’s important that others not be the most important factor in living your life. Who should be most important are your friends and family. It is imperative to have good friends, true friends. It is in choosing your friends carefully where you will find the most happiness.

Marcus Aurelius in his Meditations wrote, “I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinion of himself than on the opinion of others.”

Aurelius made an excellent observation. American society, in particular, is quite concerned with how you look to others, and very little emphasis is put on understanding your individuality. When someone breaks the norms, many people seem to think that person is being anti-social and rebellious.

However, society should not be what tells you who you are. It is with friends that you really learn who you are. They are who you have the best memories with, but also the worst, as well. True friendships are those that can survive the worst times and flourish in spite of them.

The world is full of adversity and it is impossible to live an absolutely “good” life. The closest you can ever get is living it with a few best friends who understand you and appreciate you who for you are and are not worried about what you’re not. The opinions of your friends, as well as your own of yourself, are the only ones you should really heed.

Above all, the only way to live your life is to be as positive as possible about everything you encounter. Life is not long enough to remain negative for too long. Living the good life is in finding what you like to do most and trying to make a living out of it.

There are so many ways to be successful. You just have to be creative, and work really hard at it. A good life is worth the hard work. As long as you have true friends, you will always pull through.

~ Amelia <3

Writing words, spreading love, Amelia Desertsong primarily writes creative nonfiction articles, as well as dabbling in baseball, Pokemon, Magic the Gathering, and whatever else tickles her fancy.

2 thoughts on “Marcus Aurelius and “The Good Life“

  1. Many people wouldn’t think that a Caesar would make such an insightful statement. But, the upper echelon, wealthy, political and military families all received a very robust education. Everything from Greek, mathematics, philosophy, ancient military strategy, politics and other subjects that would allow them to at least be proud representatives of their families. Marcus Aurelius not only received received this education — with a particular interest in philosophy.
    This drew the attention of the Emperor Hadrian, and Marcus Aurelius advanced eventually advanced through politics and political adoption to the position of emperor himself. He became known as one of the most loved emperors of the empire’s history.
    I really enjoyed your post, Amelia! You managed to take one of his quotes and and personalize your interpretation. In this case is appropriate. Often times we become so wrapped up in our own accomplishments, our own troubles, our own desires, rather than look at the plight of others.
    I am going to get a little preachy here, but I am going to do so to make a point, and I have no intention to offend.
    There are number of examples in the Bible where people are shown to forsake the plight of others. For example, there is the situation where the villagers forsake the blind beggar and Jesus approaches him and restores his sight. Another example would be the situation with the leper, who was considered unclean, and Jesus still approached him and healed him. But the greatest example that I can think of is with the situation with the woman who was guilty of adultery. She was about to be stoned to death but Jesus intervened and said, “Let he without sin throw the first stone!”
    Not one man could bring himself to throw his stone.
    Now, I return to your post. Why did this happen? Why was this woman spared. Each man had to take a moment and look deep within himself and determine if he was truly free of sin and “better” than this woman. We were created as human beings. Which means that were created as creatures who make our own choices. We can make poor decisions. We can decide to give into peer pressure. We can decide to enter unhealthy relationships or abuse drugs and alcohol. One can decide to poor everything into your job. Overachievement. You can fall into the trap of co-decency and people-pleasing.
    You have astutely interpreted Aurelius’ meaning. As humans, we are creatures of choice. We can choose to behave in a certain manner that is not taught in books. It may be a manner that you did not learn in your home. You can choose to not associate yourself with the destructive crowd, and surround those who love you and emulate the life that you wish to follow.
    You are a younger person. And I am speaking to you as someone who is in recovery from bipolar. I lost my marriage and my family six years ago. In the beginning, I was filled with anger, sorrow, depression, finger pointing. But, in time, I learned to let go of my pain and not direct these feelings at others and re-direct within myself in introspection and search for my own need.
    I learned who my true friends were. I learned who were the people that were going to truly be there for me. Unfortunately, I had to cut ties with people that were close to me, and that I had known for years. They were toxic relationships.
    Once you accomplish this you find new confidence in how people treat you; and you will find that people will be more trusting, accepting, loyal and will remain by your side through thick and thin!

Comments are closed.

Back To Top
%d bloggers like this: