In the Discourses of Epictetus (c.108 CE,) Arrian reports, “I must die: must I, then die groaning too? I must be fettered: and wailing too. I must go into exile? Does anyone, then, keep me from going a smile and cheerful and serene?”
You may not choose the circumstance, but you can choose your response to it.
Choose your response, and you can rise above what holds you down.
Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning (1959) proposes, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
When circumstances pull for some particular reaction, choose to respond instead.
Don’t react without thinking. Don’t accept reflexive reactions. Instead, learn to become aware that there is a “space” before responding. Learn to recognize, increase, and make use of this “space.”
That awareness ushers a release from the dictates of both external and internal pressures.
Choose a better response. With that, you can find inner happiness.
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