“Each person acquires their own character, but their official roles are designated by chance. You should invite some to your table because they are deserving, others because they may come to deserve it.” Seneca, Moral Letters.
Whatever hand life has dealt you, the power to choose your attitude about it remains all yours. Viktor Frankl, the WW2 psychiatrist who survived imprisonment in Auschwitz and Dachau, argued that this is the only power that mankind has – the power to make meaning of what goes on in our lives. Strip away the conditions that put you in a beneficial place (a stable family life, good education, a career with opportunities for progression) or in a not-so secure place (troubled upbringing, difficulties learning in a ‘challenging’ school, a string of limited jobs and spells of unemployment), and you are left with the exposed basics of your character.
The experiences we have shape our character too: if these are not in our control, then it is pure luck that they have happened to us – good luck and bad luck. Bad luck for the unfortunate times, and good luck for the ‘lucky b******’ who has it all land on their plate.
It’s your choice how you choose to look at it – for yourself and for others. If someone’s ‘face doesn’t fit’, what could you do to help shape it?
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash.