Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears

Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears.Marcus Aurelius

After suffering a nasty scratch from a cat, he decided to have a little fun. Anger at cat, gone. Peace of mind, restored.

What does that mean?
This quote is classic Stoic (as one might expect). It urges us to reject your sense of injury. This, in turn, causes the injury itself to disappear. That might not make as much sense when considering physical injuries, but is spot on with injuries to the ego, the sensibilities or to the psyche.

It is easy to become incensed when insulted, but if you reject the insult, the sting of it immediately dissipates. If you were called a “scruffy-looking Nerf herder,” how much would it sting? It wouldn’t, mostly be because there is no such thing, so it has no bite. What if you treated all insults in this manner?

Why is peace of mind important?  
Peace of mind is when you are calm, tranquil, and nothing in the outside world can bother you. Even inside yourself, things are quiet and in harmony. Sounds great, but can it be done in today’s hectic world?

It can be done, or at least I have managed to do it. I think you can as well. It may only be for a few moments, scattered through a busy week, but with practice, it might even become your default state. One has to have goals, right?

Achieving peace of mind brings a great feeling of joy and certainty of purpose. It helps by providing clarity of thought and inner calm. Is this something you might find helpful? I believe it is tremendously useful, and a worthy goal, even if you don’t get there any time soon.

Where can I apply this in my life?
We visited insults briefly in the first section of this post. I want to make this point again, as I believe it is that important. If you can ignore their ignorant comment, the insult, and continue on with your life, you have rejected their attempt to injure you, and you are therefore uninjured. It isn’t easy, it may burn a little inside, but I believe the effort is worth it.

The kind of people who go around insulting people are generally looking to provoke a reaction, looking to injure you, and looking for you to react as if you were injured. Have you noticed that they tend to laugh at you if you try to insult them back? They have already learned this lesson. Now it is your turn to put it into practice.

How much more pleasant do you think your life would be if you could just ignore those idiots? Why do you allow them the power to disrupt your life, and to make you angry, mad, or whatever your reaction happens to be? I personally refuse to allow them to have that power over me. Sometimes they attempt to escalate, but most just walk away, frustrated.

For something more significant than a random stranger with an attitude, it is the same basic thing. If someone is saying something untrue about you at work, call them on it, set the record straight and go on with your life. The world is full of idiots, and it’s nice when they identify themselves. It makes them easier to deal with in the future.

Just put the event behind you. Often, the whole point of the lie is to get under your skin, to mess with your head. If you let that happen, they have won and you have lost. If you correct the lie, and go about your life as if nothing was wrong, they have lost. Not only have you won the skirmish, you have also retained your peace of mind, and that is the true prize.

I have had cases involving physical altercations, and been able to brush them off. Yeah, a black eye or a split lip can be hard to ignore, but by walking away from a rematch, by forgiving them and getting on with your life, you retain your peace of mind.

It’s easier to do if it was a friend than someone you hate, but it still needs to be done, or you lose your peace of mind. You end up scheming on how to get even, how to pay them back, or how to get one up on them. What an incredible waste of energy, both physical and mental, and what a waste of time. Is that the best way for you to spend your time and effort?

Be strong, be level headed, and move on. Forgive and forget. Refuse to join them in their petty games. Protect your most valuable assets, your attitude and your peace of mind. They cannot take either from you, you have to agree to give them up. Consider your actions carefully.

From: Twitter, @philo_quotes
confirmed at :
Photo by Hello Turkey Toe


About philosiblog

I am a thinker, who is spending some time examining those short twitter quotes in greater detail on my blog.
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6 Responses to Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears

  1. Pingback: If thy brother wrongs thee, remember not so much his wrong-doing, but more than ever that he is thy brother | philosiblog

  2. Pingback: If thy brother wrongs thee, remember not so much his wrong-doing, but more than ever that he is thy brother | philosiblog

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  4. Kurt Conrad says:

    I love that you’ve blogged about this quote. It’s a powerful one. But I’m wondering if there is not more room to explore its more numerous implications. To begin with, you mention that it may be harder to do this with someone you hate versus someone you love. While I can’t say that’s not true, I wonder if in some circumstances it’s the opposite. (1.) When upbraided, it is much easier to discount the experience when it comes at the hands of someone for whom I care very little. You can just write them off. But what happens when it comes from someone you love…or worse, someone you respect and love. The situation is much more precarious. The easy work of writing the off is not an option if you want to keep that friendship. How do we manage to “reject the sense of injury” when it comes from a source that we are not willing to part with? My question does not mean to imply that it’s impossible; only that it is much more complicated. To be honest, I’m not sure how to manage it.

    This brings me to a second point. (2.) What is our “sense of injury.” It’s not really advising that we reject the source of the injury (the easy work when it’s someone we hate). What is “our sense” of something?

    (3.)What about when the injury is not an insult or criticism in the traditional sense? I once saw this quote submitted by someone as a response on how to “get over” a broken heart. In my experience, broken hearts do not usually occur because someone is deliberately trying to hurt the other party (although that does happen). They often occur when a relationship breaks-down on one side faster than on the other, but the pain experienced is consequential. Rather than deliberately inflicted with the intent of hurting, the pain is usually a product of a lack of care or a realization that something must change even though it may (unfortunately cause pain). What of this kind of injury? How would Aurelius’ sentiment apply here? What, in this case, is the “sense” of injury that we can reject, especially if we want to continue to respect the other person?

    • philosiblog says:

      Thanks for the comment. There is always room for more of anything. I am by no means the sharpest knife in the drawer, and I try to keep my posts between 800 and 1000 words.

      1) Every rule has a counter-example, right? That would be one. How about a counter-counter-example? What if everyone else admired your berater, but you didn’t. When they blasted you, you might not care that they were saying things about you. However, you might care that the others around you held them is high regard, and believed what was said of you? Yes, it gets complicated fast, doesn’t it?

      2) Not sure I understand the question. The quote is about words only having the power that you allow them to have. By rejecting you sense of hurt, the words become powerless.

      3) The ‘hurt’ from a breakup is outside the general realm of this quote. If they called you nasty names on the way out the door, then the quote would apply to that portion of the breakup. The emotional wound from the breakup is a grieving process, and not part of this quote.

      The quote has a specific domain, and isn’t necessarily applicable outside that realm. I’m sorry if I wasn’t sufficiently specific with my discussion to point that out.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

  5. Pingback: To refrain from imitation is the best revenge. | philosiblog

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