“Frame your thoughts like this – you are an old person, you won’t let yourself be enslaved by this any longer, no longer pulled like a puppet by every impulse, and you’ll stop complaining about your present fortune or dreading the future.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 2.2
Rather than thinking of our passions and emotions as things, let’s entertain the idea that they are people.
You see a post on Facebook that interests you, and you know you’re going to read the comments section. Boom! Now you’re in the throes of an online debate with friends, sort-of friends and total strangers. Or maybe it’s a tweet. Did you really need to invest your time in this dialogue?
What’s your food weakness? Is it that pizza place that sells by the slice? You have made a commitment to get “Spartan Strong”, but you simply can’t resist a slice or two.
How would you feel if in both of these examples someone was standing beside you demanding that you reply to those idiots in the social space, or the pizza cook was holding the slices in front of your face making you eat them? You’d probably stand against those people because you are your own person. No one tells you what to do.
Your passions and emotions are no different. Left uncontrolled they will push you around like a rudderless ship. If you feel like you have to do or respond to something please reconsider that position. Remember that your feelings can shift on a dime, moving from anger to joy at any second. Do you want to be the person who is so unstable that their mental frame is so chaotic? Do you want to be a puppet? If you won’t stand for people pushing you around take the same stance against your impulses.