I’ve recently added something to my mornings that has changed my perspective when dealing with other people.
It’s a quote from the last of Ancient Rome’s Five Good Emperors - Marcus Aurelius.
In Meditations - his journal turned into a book - he wrote about how to begin your days to improve your inner peace:
When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own—not of the same blood or birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him. We were born to work together like feet, hands, and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are obstructions.
I put this quote as a recurring task at the top of my to-do list, and I check it off in the morning when I read it. While I use to-do lists, you can remind yourself however you want - be it having post-it notes, journaling, or pasting it on the mirror.
We could all be better at dealing with others, and this simple reminder to myself has definitely changed my perspective and made it more pleasant to do so.
I highly recommend reading Gregory Hays’ translation of the book. It’s definitely one of the best books I’ve read - a manual on how to live a life full of virtue.