Lessons From Philosophy That (If Applied) Will Make You A Better Partner
How to apply the wisdom of ancient philosophers to improve your relationship
The most useful piece of advice I’ve ever read was from The Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Also a stoic philosopher, his prominence as one of the most influential people in human history has allowed his legacy to continue for thousands of years. During his book Meditations, he writes: Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within your way of thinking.”
What he meant was that although you may not be able to control the circumstances you face throughout life, the one thing that you shall always have power over is your mindset and your perception of the event.
So even in catastrophic circumstances when it feels like your relationship is on the verge of a breakup, there shall always be lessons from the situation which will help you to create a better life in the future.
For me, this new way of thinking meant taking accountability for my actions and letting go of external circumstances outside of my control. Although I was heartbroken after being cheated on in past relationships, I used those moments as opportunities to understand the psychology behind cheating to prevent it from happening again.
Below are some useful lessons that I’ve learned from philosophy which you can easily apply to your relationship. They taught me to become accountable for my actions and to react to every situation with a positive mindset.
So if you want to become a better partner, these lessons from some of the most influential philosophers in human history will undoubtedly help you.
How? Well, keep reading. This article is for you.
Don’t worry about circumstances outside of your control.
Our mind has a tendency to overthink every situation, circumstance, and event that cannot be controlled. But to live a happier life, you first need to accept that you do not have the power to change the result of external circumstances.
As Epictetus so eloquently said: “There is only one way to happiness, and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.” If you ever find yourself worrying about a situation, ask yourself: What actions are within my power to change the outcome?
This new way of thinking will forever change the way you see the world. Because instead of occupying your mind with circumstances outside of your control, you will be solely focused on what you have the power to change.
Think before you speak.
One of the most prominent figures within the Roman Empire, Cato, once said: “I’ll begin to speak only when I’m certain what I’ll say isn’t better left unsaid.”
While in a relationship, we often have a tendency to speak our mind without a second thought as to how our words may impact the other person’s emotions. But it’s crucial to remember that some things are better left unsaid.
Our words are what define our character & personality during a conversation. They have the power to strengthen your relationship or to trample over the feelings of your partner. So whenever you find yourself in an argument, ask yourself if what you are about to say is better left unsaid.
Adversity creates prosperity.
If you’re currently in a relationship, you will know that arguments are commonplace when disagreeing on a subject. Maybe your partner is annoyed because you’re scrolling through social media instead of talking to them while in bed. Or perhaps you’re annoyed that they used your credit card to buy something expensive at the mall without your consent.
We’ve all been there. But during times of friction within a relationship, it’s important to remember the words of Epictetus: “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”
Let that quote simmer in your mind in preparation for the next argument with your partner. Allow it to become your primary thought and guiding light for making better decisions in times of heated discussion.
Sure, you can continue to argue with your partner to get an ego boost of knowing you came out on top. But at what cost?
If you want to develop an unbreakable bond with your partner, a better way forward is to be empathetic to their point of view and to find a compromise that suits you both. Because empathy is a superpower that everyone wants, but very few can deploy.
Resist the temptation to argue and use this moment as an opportunity to strengthen your relationship. Seneca said it best: “A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man without trials.”
Arguments in a relationship can create incredible prosperity. However, this can only be achieved when you are empathetic to the other person.
I’m going to leave you with a final quote from Marcus Aurelius, who perfectly speaks about the importance of looking at your own imperfections before criticizing those of other people:
“Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?”
This is a new era: the beginning of a new chapter within your life. So go out and create a world of unlimited opportunity that will help you become the person you’ve always wanted to be.
Remember: your mind is all you’ll ever need to create a happy life. Use it.