No one has the right to be sorry for himself for a misfortune that strikes everyone. – Cicero
What does that mean?
While everyone complains on Tax Day or at other times when unpleasant things happen to large groups of us, this quote says we have no right to feel sorry for ourselves. Besides, taxation really isn’t a misfortune.
Even when true misfortune befalls a large group, they are all in it together. They, more than any others, know what they are going through, and they are the only ones there to do something about it (at least at first).
If a tornado, hurricane, or earthquake hit your area, would you waste time feeling sorry for yourself? You don’t have that luxury, and some would even say you don’t have the right to behave that way.
In such a situation, there are almost certainly people worse off than you, and in need of assistance from you and others. Whether it’s your family, friends, neighbors, or complete strangers, you have bigger fish to fry.
Why is seeing the big picture important?
This quote is about perspective. If a fire burns your house, you can feel sorry for yourself. But if the whole town is burned because wildfires sweep through and destroy everything, then you do not.
There are plenty of others who have it at least as bad as you do, and some of them desperately need your help. If you’re holding a pity party for yourself, you can’t also help others.
To me, that’s what this quote is driving at. In times of shared misfortune, we need our sense of community, of our larger ‘family’ ties. Having perspective allows us to see past our small troubles to the larger issues.
In troubled times, we need to be as one, to pull together. And that can only be accomplished if we can see the bigger picture. We have to see beyond our own needs, and be ready and willing to help each-other.
Where can I apply this in my life?
While this quote is about widespread misfortune, we can also use the same concepts in much smaller situations. As mentioned before, if a whole town is burned due to raging wildfires, it’s hard for the people to feel sorry for themselves, as they are too busy helping each-other and picking up the pieces.
But we can help. There are organizations which help people who have suffered misfortune. And we can help those organizations. We can donate what we have an excess of, be it talent, time, or money. There may be calls for specific items, and we may be able to help with that as well.
After a hurricane a number of years ago, I donated cash, as that was what I had in surplus. My brother went with some members of his church and donated of his time and his talent, as that is what he had in surplus. All across the planet, millions of others do the same thing on a regular basis.
The larger the misfortune, either in effect or in area, the more publicity it tends to get, and the greater the resulting response from the public is likely to be. But there are plenty of smaller misfortunes happening in areas closer to home on a regular basis.
If you live in a fairly large town or in a city, you probably hear about fires and injuries occurring daily. Those people, whether or not they feel sorry for themselves, need help. Perhaps you can provide assistance directly or through a local or national organization.
If you are quite unfortunate, you could end up being one of those people who are in need of assistance. While it is natural to grieve over your loss and the misfortune, how much of your time and energy will you invest in these activities, and how much will you invest in moving forward?
There is another old saying which goes like this: “Into each life, a little rain must fall.” Things happen to us. Some we label misfortunes, others we embrace as good or happy. Farmers like rain (up to a certain point). City folks tend not to like it as much. But the weather is the weather.
The point is that we will all get wet at some point. Will we feel sorry for ourselves, or will we look to help others who may be less well equipped to deal with the rain? Can you share your umbrella, or will you cower under it and feel sorry for yourself?
We all will have choices to make when the rain comes. That which we call misfortune will visit us all, some more than others. Will you help, or will you have a pity party? Neither is wrong, but one path is a little more helpful than the other, right?
From: Twitter, @philo_quotes
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/marcustull396969.html
Photo by PhotoJunkie!
- Allow no mistake nor misfortune be in vain… (bxbanda.wordpress.com)
- Fellow Feeling (mindfulandcontemplative.com)
- A Multi-Front Crisis for the Red Cross (usdailyreview.com)
- Sam Steiger’s Unconventionalism Second-To-None (themoderatevoice.com)