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Anger Management by Marcus Auerelius

The equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius in Campidoglio Rome.jpg

In Mediations, (Book XI, Chapter 18) Marcus Auerelius reflects on his own anger management techniques. When offended, he made time to consider the following factors.

Were their actions right? If so, you need not be offended. If they were in the wrong, did they act out of ignorance, or were they compelled by other factors to offend. 


Before making a judgement, conduct a thorough examination of the offense to determine why it occurred and what the motivation was. Is this how the offender normally behaves? Are you free of similar wrongdoing? 

Consider your relationship to the offender. Despite being Emperor, Marcus firmly believed that we are all here to work together.

Remember, you are bothered by your own opinion of what the offender did. Change your opinion. The offense itself is a disgrace to the offender, not you.


Don't let anger and frustration overwhelm is too short. Anger and rage usually harm ourselves more than the original offense. Remember, there is nothing admirable about losing your temper. Keep your mind free from this passion (anger) and you will have room for rational thought. 

Counsel the offender in private. Don't lecture, embarrass or talk down to them. Treat them with kindness and respect. Take measures to heal the rift between yourself and the offender. 


Most importantly, be prepared. Expect that offenses will occur.


Marcus was always prepared for the possibility of dealing with difficult people: see his morning prayer (meditation).


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