Marcus Aurelius’ quotes may be from the time of Ancient Rome, but they are still relevant today.
Who was Marcus Aurelius?
He was a Roman emperor between 161 to 180. He was known as the last of the Five Good Emperors. Marcus Aurelius’ personal philosophical writings, now known as his Meditations, have become a source of many quotes and are widely praised in the philosophical community. They are also commonly found to be a significant source of modern understandings of Stoic philosophy.
The Meditations contain hundreds of quotes that you can integrate into your daily life to improve it and enhance your moral understanding.
These are only ten of the best quotes by Marcus Aurelius which are most definitely still relevant today and teach valuable lessons.
Be content to seem what you really are
We are always looking to emanate what others expect of us and hiding who we really are. This is one of the most famous Marcus Aurelius’ sayings which tells us that we must allow ourselves to be who we truly are. It reminds us to get comfortable with it and express our true selves.
The more we value things outside our control, the less control we have
One of the more insightful Marcus Aurelius’ quotes teaches us that when we try to control things which are not in our control, we are actually more out of control than we realise.
It is natural to feel anxious when we have little control over certain aspects of our lives. However, it is important to know what we can change and what we can’t. To gain control of our lives, we must focus on what we can control and work to improve the parts of our lives we have the power to change.
Let not your mind run on what you lack as much as on what you have already
It is natural to focus on our weaknesses. It’s easy to obsess over the things we lack and the things about ourselves we dislike the most. But it’s time to shift our focus. Look at what you do have and what you can do. Focus on the things you like most about yourself rather than the things you like the least.
If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it
This is an inspirational quote by Marcus Aurelius that teaches us to do what is right and say what is true. It can be difficult to keep to our morals – we are only human after all.
Still, we should do our best to do the right things and tell the truth. It might be a challenge, but endeavouring to stay true makes us all better people.
If there is a god, all is well; and if chance rules, do not be governed by it
One of the biggest questions in life is whether or not God exists. This quote reminds us that it doesn’t necessarily matter because if God does exist, things are all as they are meant to be.
If God doesn’t exist, we cannot allow that to make life meaningless. We must find and make our own meaning in life and not let chance govern our future.
The best revenge is not to be like your enemy
Anger can drive us to do crazy things and we can often stoop to the level of our enemy rather than rising above it. The best revenge, however, is to not be like your enemy. Rising above them and being the better person will not only feel better, but others will recognise your maturity and healthier character.
Confine yourself to the present
We are all future-oriented and it is natural to strive for your goals. However, it can leave us focussing more on the future than the here and now. When we forget about the present, we forget to make time for our important relationships and the things which make us truly happy.
Confining ourselves to the present doesn’t mean forget about the future. It just reminds us to focus on the important things in our present whilst making steps towards our future.
You can commit injustice by doing nothing
It may seem that by doing nothing, we are taking ourselves out of the situation. However, this is not always the case. Being a silent witness is just as much of an injustice as committing the offence in the first place. If we do nothing with the knowledge of an injustice, we ourselves commit one.
Do every act of your life as if it were your last
When we feel demotivated or lacklustre with the task at hand, it is important to remember that we do not know just how little time we have. Commit yourself completely to everything you do and do the things that motivate you.
It is not death a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live
We cannot live our lives in fear of death because we will not make the most of the life we have. It is important to focus on what you are doing and how you are living. Do not fear death, revel in life.
Marcus Aurelius may be an ancient philosopher, but his writings continue to be relevant in today’s society. We can use his teachings in our daily lives to live better, be more moral, and revel in all life has to give.
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