AMOR FATI “Love Your Fate”
Amor Fati is a Latin phrase meaning, “Love Your Fate.” The idea is that everything that happens in one’s life—the things that feel good and the things that don’t—are necessary to reach an ultimate and desirable endpoint. They are pages and chapters of a book that will end, as it must, and end well.
The philosophy that informs Amor Fati frees human beings to not wish for anything different, even if what ishappens to be painful. For the pain itself is seen as part of an overall positive trajectory. Darkness is seen as prelude to light. Always. Inevitably.
Amor Fati has been linked to the stoic philosophers Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus, but is most prominently linked to the writer and philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. He wrote, “My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it . . . but love it.”
This, of course, is one lens through which to view my Pain-2-Power philosophy: Do not run from pain. Do not grieve having to endure pain. But, instead, embrace it, learn from it, turn it into fuel for the journey ahead, then move ahead, more powerfully than ever.
I like to think of Amor Fati, by way of this example: Let’s say you were one of a dozen warriors on a battlefield. You look across the hundred yards separating you from your opponents and see hundreds of men. But you don’t retreat. You don’t weep. You don’t even resign yourself to inevitable defeat. You actually lovethe moment at hand. You think to yourself, “If we do nothing more than join this battle, wholeheartedly, then our courage in the face of adversity will inspire others. If we win this battle, then our victory will be the stuff of legend.”
The idea is that the table set for you is the table to eat from—and to eat with abandon, to eat your fill, to eat as if it is your last meal, especially if that turns out to be the case.
Is this orientation . . . Amor Fati . . . an easy one to sustain? No. Of course, not. But it can be a very powerful orientation that is worth sustaining. It is so relentlessly optimistic that it can take the sting out of seemingly being stung by fate and, by philosophical alchemy, transmute even suffering into something sustaining.
In Amor Fati, Fate is so closely connected to Faith that it may be needless to distinguish between the two. Loving your fate, after all, means believing that it is not random, nothing to run from and designed for your good by God or the Universe (as you choose to see it).
I’ll end with a few quotes from great thinkers seem in line with Amor Fati:
What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.
The wound is where the light enters.
The river needs to take the risk of entering the ocean.
Onward . . . loving what comes next . . .
Dr. Keith Ablow
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