How Marcus Aurelius and Ryan Holiday Helped Change My Perspective on Healing

I want to share something powerful I learned recently from Marcus Aurelius, thanks to Ryan Holiday. He said that the only way people who do you wrong can truly hurt you is if you become like them.

This profound insight has significantly impacted my journey, especially in dealing with the idea of a victim mentality. It’s always easier to say my life turned out the way it had because of the wounds I suffered. But the people involved in those wounds have not actually hurt me. I was wounded, not denying that, but I did not become like them.

If I had allowed myself to become bitter, angry, and vengeful, that’s when I could truly say I was hurt. I would have compromised my core being. I can no longer say, in good conscience, that people have hurt me. Instead, I choose to make a conscious effort to be kinder to myself and others. I refuse to let the world and all that’s happened hurt my essence. The more I keep believing, “I am hurt” or, “I was hurt by others,” the less personal power I am practicing. I am not hurt. I have not been hurt. I have not allowed myself to become like them. I just haven’t. And I am super-proud of that.

It’s easy to dismiss difficult experiences as “things happen for a reason,” which can feel like spiritual BS after a while. In my victim mentality, my initial reaction was often that things happened TO me. Circumstances were out of my control. To move myself into a more empowered mentality, I began to reframe and tell myself things were happening FOR me. That all that happened was for my growth. Except I found myself perseverating on the why. Why did it happen, and could I prevent such harsh lessons from happening in the future? If only I could figure out what led up to the happening, maybe I could avoid the ensuing pain.

It was crazy-making, kept me in my past, and circled circumstances until I got it. Because what I know to be true is, what we resist persists, and what you focus on, comes around. Over and over.

I’m going to try a new approach: to stay present and acknowledge experiences as “just things.” I’m not going to dwell on why they happened or how to avoid repeats in the future. I’m going to take a more objective approach to life.

Recently, three people asked me about my art-making. The truth is, there has not been any art-making. While I find it curious that I have not made art, the old version of me would have gotten down on myself for not living up to other’s visions of me. I know…it’s crazy.

Staying present, I take the signs – people asking me about my art-making – at face value. It’s just me and the Greater Oneness, speaking to me in many beautiful, creative ways. I’m going through a huge physical, emotional, and mental challenge and not giving myself the gift of art time. Is the resistance mine, or is it just resistance to art, that naturally opposing force to creativity?

I’m seeking a path forward for healing, which requires change. Three times I have been given the same signal. I think I’ll listen. My random thoughts include: What does self-kindness look like right now? Is that what I should share with the world—how I’m healing? It takes bravery to show this journey. Discomfort can become comfortable, and change is hard work, but to stay where I am is unbearable and untenable.

My mission is to heal my life. It’s a mission we are all on. It is not my soul that needs healing. My soul is already whole, unharmed, and perfectly beautiful. I want to love myself and my life as my soul already and forever loves. I want to purify my life and live as close to the Greater Oneness as possible.

Thank you for listening. Let’s heal together.

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