The notion of passion doesn’t apply exclusively to our professional lives; it’s equally true for our personal lives as well.
Passion requires an unwavering commitment and resilience. The word ‘passion’ comes from the Latin root pati, which means ‘to suffer’. Passion, at its core, demands suffering as it’s a strong desire and enthusiasm for something or about doing something even if involves pain and/or sacrifice. It’s not for the faint of heart or those who lack patience. The word ‘patience’ also has the same Latin root as ‘passion,’ meaning it’s not only the ability to wait, but it’s the ability to suffer.
When we speak of the Passion of Christ, we remember the incredible suffering Jesus endured on the cross. Whenever we choose the path of patience — cheerfully bearing with someone who is narcissistic and/or hot-headed, or going through massive discomfort for the benefit of others — in our own tiny way, we embrace and embody the essence of the Passion.
Like Jesus, we must develop kindness and compassion for our fellow beings as well, as challenging as it may be. Of course, this does not mean turning a blind eye to other people’s erratic behaviors and misdeeds. It means acknowledging and even trying to nourish the seeds of goodness within them. As Eknath Easwaran points out, “I know when somebody is being rude or unkind, but it does not impair my faith in that person. I keep my eyes on the core of goodness in him; and I act towards her as I would have her act towards me. There is only one way to make others more loving, and that is by loving more ourselves.”
Marcus Aurelius too believed in the idea of developing incredible patience towards others and reminded himself constantly to prepare for negative and toxic people beforehand: “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 and birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine.”
Marcus knew that it’s our duty as humans to co-operate with others, no matter how unthankful, irascible, devious or hostile they might be. And so rather than opposing or fighting with them and causing delays or obstacles in their plans to get back at them, it’s much better to take the high road — to treat them with respect and kindness and help them out if necessary. After all, that’s the way of nature and the divine, and violating it serves no one.