Earlier today, I was having an argument with my wife. I needed to cool off, so I did what I do a lot of times when I'm upset - I went for a walk outside.
It had been a busy week and both of us were tired but I knew that was not an excuse for me. I needed some advice on how to resolve the situation.
So, I put on my earphones and played a random episode of The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday called 'Don't Disgrace Yourself'. I was hoping to hear something relevant. In just a few minutes, I heard what I needed to hear - the famous quote from Marcus Aurelius:
"Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself."
It was like a slap in the face that brought me back to my senses and reminded me - yet again - that I cannot expect everyone around me to do things the way I like. It doesn't matter why they won't or can't. What matters is that I have no say in it and no control over it.
What I do have control over is my actions and the standards I set for myself. I was upset because my wife wasn't doing things the way I wanted them to be done. She had a long and busy week too. She's doing her best and trying hard to do some things my way - even though she doesn't need to. Instead of appreciating it, I was upset that she wasn't doing them my way. I felt relieved and ashamed. I came back home and apologized to her.
Many times in the last couple of years that I've been practicing Stoicism, I have been upset with the actions of people. And on many such occasions, nothing has helped me more than this quote. But I still need to be reminded from time to time. And it never fails to help.
So, if you find yourself upset with someone's actions like I was, just remember:
Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself.