Friedrich Nietzsche: “My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati, that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely to bear what is necessary, but to love it.”
We can’t control everything that happens to us. This is one of the hardest concepts to accept, at least for me. When bad things happen that are out of our control, it can drive you insane. This is not new, and humans have experienced this pain for thousands of years. But at the same time, do you wish everything bad that has happened to you in the past would have never happened? I sure don’t. I would not be the person I am today without the positive and negative experiences in my life.
“Whatever comes, let it come, what stays let stay, what goes let go.”
It may feel strange to try to “love” bad things that happen to us, but I’m sure you can look back and find at least instance where this is true. Some things that felt horrible at the moment, we look back and laugh at now. And what did you learn from that experience? What positive things resulted from that experience long-term? By embracing bad experiences, even as they happen, you take control of the situation.
Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor, famously said in his book Man’s Search for Meaning, “Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation. You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can always control what you will feel.”
If someone who went through such terrible hardships was able to overcome these events with a positive outlook, we certainly have no excuse. The world isn’t a perfect place, and bad things are going to happen. People are even less perfect, including yourself. The key is to understand where they are coming from and to empathize.
“Don’t criticize them, they are what we would be under similar circumstances.” -Abraham Lincoln
So what are we to do, just let things go? The answer is yes. If it is out of your control, then getting stressed, angry, or depressed will not change the outcome. Focus on what you can do. Focus on the things you can change.
“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” -Marcus Aurelius
What do you think about the concept of Amor Fati? How does it change your perspective on life? Let me know in the comments below!