July 4, 2022
They’re one of your trusted friends. You spent years together before you decided to let them into your inner circle, sharing with them your deepest thoughts that only a trusted friend is privy to hear. Then it happened – BETRAYAL.
They shared one of your most precious secrets with those outside of your trusted circle in order to benefit themselves at your expense.
You’re in shock. You ask, “Why would they do this to me? Why hurt me for their own gain?”
And then it happens…. You say to yourself, “I know so many secrets about them as well. Guess I’ll now tell everyone about their secrets. That will even the score!” So in your mind, you think about the war beginning and you each share your deepest secrets (about the other) with the world. You think about how you two become gladiators in a pit that others watch on with intense desire for the next treacherous blow to be given.
However, you bring your mind back to reality and choose a different path. You took a higher road, a road learned from Marcus Aurelius. Marcus’ trusted friend was a general in Marcus’ army. However, at one point, while off in one of Marcus’s territories, the general turned against Marcus by plotting a civil war to take over Marcus’ empire.
Marcus tells his soldiers, “For a plot has been formed against me by my dearest friend and I have been forced into a conflict against my will, though I have done nothing wrong or amiss.” Marcus continues —”I seek a prize such as no human being has ever yet obtained. And what is this prize? To forgive a man who has wronged one, to remain a friend to one who has transgressed friendship, to continue faithful to one who has broken faith.” For Marcus, he went after his trusted friend with his soldiers but not to hurt the trusted friend, but to bring him home.
So, just as we don’t throw away our children when they err and disgrace us, neither do you throw away your trusted friend. Instead, you bring them home and retrain them accordingly because you know all of us make errors in judgment, and sometimes all that is needed is forgiveness and guidance to return to our prior trusted friendship.
Now using My S-T-O-I-C STORYTELLING method:
(S) A colleague posted a personal conversation on social media.
(T) “And what is this prize? To forgive a man who has wronged one, to remain a friend to one who has transgressed friendship, to continue faithful to one who has broken faith.” Marcus Aurelius
(O) I was saddened by the event but satisfied that I didn’t react in a negative way toward the person.
(I) I realized I needed to forgive and remain faithful to them because they needed my guidance and counsel.
(C) Virtue grew within me and all my trusted friends who learned of my actions.
The Stoicess’ Secret?
Sometimes it’s tougher to bring them back than let them go, but that’s what trusted friends do.
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