Getting angry at things is easy, understanding one’s anger is hard, but by practicing the hard part you can become a better human. As always, it’s useful to learn from the work of people that came before us. Donald Robertson and Zé Nuno Fraga wrote and illustrated a graphic novel to help people understand that work in Stoicism. Their graphic novel Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius is nice and easy to read and look at iy.
Stoicism is a philosophy that embraces calmness and thinking about oneself in relation to others (and what makes other people think too). If you’ve ever wondered about it then grab this book and give it a try.
I think this attitude of humility is central to Stoicism. We tend to minimize or ignore our own weaknesses in a way that makes us all slightly conceited and narcissistic. The more angry we feel, the more unforgiving and self-righteous we tend to become. We may disapprove of the actions of another but we tend to become less acutely enraged when we consciously accept that we’re capable of exhibiting similar flaws ourselves. Psychologists used to call this “projection” — when you point a finger at someone, three of your own fingers are pointing back at you! Marcus thought that as soon as we notice ourselves becoming irritated with another person, therefore, we should take it as a signal that we must have lost sight of this. We’re being arrogant and ignoring our own weaknesses and should, instead, stop and think — we should look within ourselves.