I work in an environment where a lot of people disliking me or having a particular opinion of me in one way or another is a borderline expectation. It is what it is and a reality to be accepted yet not everyone accepts this. I act as I do in a professional way to my colleagues and while not as personal as I would be with those I consider friends, I try to be virtuous in my actions. For some, if not most, it can be unnerving or uncomfortable to work with and around those you know don’t like you – either personally or professionally. And are not all people of the world our colleagues in life? Luckily, our favourite Roman emperor has some words for you:
“Someone despises me? That is his concern. But I will see to it that I am not found guilty of any word or action deserving of contempt. Will he hate me? That is his concern. But I will be kind and well-intentioned to all, and ready this very person what he is failing to see – not in any criticism or display of tolerance, but with genuine good will, like the famous Phocion (if, that is, he was not speaking ironically). This should be the quality of our inner thoughts, which are open to the gods’ eyes: they should see a man not disposed to any complaint and free of self-pity. And what harm can you suffer, if you yourself at this present moment are acting in kind with your own nature and accepting what suits the present purpose of universal nature – a man at full stretch for the achievement, this way or that, of the common good?” – Meditations 11.13
Phocion was a Greek statesmen nicknamed: “The Good”. He was sentenced to death and as his final words were to his son to not hold a grudge against his executors. I’ve spoken before about reputation and being liked yet I think it’s worth repeating the point. Are you, in your heart, a truly virtuous person – not without sin, perhaps, yet without blame?
Drink up your sangria, summer-child, give a genuine “hello” and “how are you” to your neighbour in the glasshouse with their stones. The sun shines on you both.