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Epictetus (55-135 CE) Enchiridion
A manual for living a contented life
Rendered by Charles Scamahorn (1935- ) 2014

Paragraph 42

When a man treats you badly or speaks badly of you, remember that he is coming from his own experiences and his personal interpretation of them. He can not act or speak from what is your personal experience, and if things appear terrible to him, he is the one who is suffering, not you. If he has taken a falsehood to be true, he is the one who is deceived, and he is the injured person. When you understand these problems of communication you may understand his suffering more easily and be kind to him. This is easier if you say to yourself, “That is the way he understands the situation.”


Every time someone speaks to you they are coming from their point of view, and when that seems harsh to your sensitivities, it is important to pay attention to them so you know what they are saying, even if what they say is offensive. If you remember that they are coming to you from their understanding of their experience, it will be easier for you to be kind to them.