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Everyone encounters adversity at some point in their lives. And things don’t always go the way we’d planned or hoped. No matter your life story, it’s easy to look back and regret certain decisions you made or things that happened.
Amor fati is a philosophy of living that seeks to embrace life with all of its ups and downs, all of its beauty as well as flaws. Amor fati encourages us to love and accept all the twists and turns of life. So, where does the concept of amor fati come from, what are its benefits, and how can you apply it to your own life?
What Is Amor Fati?
The philosophy surrounding amor fati has ancient roots. Amor-fati translates roughly to “love of one’s fate.” The concept of amor fati is thought to have originated from stoicism, a school of thought in ancient Greek and Roman times. Stoicism was an entire way of looking at the world. The Stoics believed that human happiness could only be found in pursuing a virtuous life.
Stoicism would say that happiness cannot be found in material things but rather in how we live our lives. Our own reactions and thoughts are the only things we can control in the world. Therefore, temperance, justice, wisdom, and bravery were core virtues the stoics held to be of great importance.
Amor fati arose from the atmosphere of stoic philosophies. Centuries later, the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche lauded the amor fati way of thinking. Nietzsche wrote about amor fati, hailing it as his “formula for greatness in a human being.”
The 19th-century philosopher went through many hardships in his life. He could have given way to regret or despair. Instead, he came to write of his desire to embrace every aspect of his life for what it was.
Nietzsche strived to look through the lens of amor fati thinking. Rather than look forwards or backward, wishing things were different, amor fati encourages us to take whatever comes with an accepting heart.
Why Should You Strive to Adopt the Amor Fati Mindset?
Inevitably, you will face struggles in your day-to-day life, whether big or small. And we’ve all heard the common saying that hindsight is 20/20. So, it’s quite normal to look back at decisions you’ve made and wish you had done things differently.
It’s important to learn from our mistakes, and there are often life lessons hidden in adversity. When things don’t go our way, there’s often a valuable lesson close behind.
On top of that, when harsh events occur, we may feel anger, frustration, and despair. Many things happen that are beyond our control. Amor fati is just a different way of looking at everything. The word “fati” means fate, the idea that events are predestined to happen.
So, when things don’t go your way, amor fati thinking can remind you not to give way to negativity. Amor fati encourages you to fully embrace your fate, whatever it brings.
If you let yourself live in the past and be consumed by regrets, you might miss out on the beauty of the present moment. Furthermore, perception ultimately shapes your reality. In today’s hectic culture, many of us walk around stressed and living in the past or future. But this only detracts from the reality of what is.
In a way, amor fati can go hand in hand with practicing mindfulness, which has many proven mental and physical health benefits. Rather than ruminating on how you wish things would have gone or how things could be different, amor fati asks you to surrender to what is true right here, right now.
Amor fati frees you by saying, “there is no other way things could have gone because they happened exactly as they should.” And framing the past this way comes with a sort of liberation.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t stand up for injustice or try to make the best choices in life that you can. And it doesn’t mean that anyone deserves to have bad things happen to them.
But with an amor fati mindset, you won’t be consumed by negative feelings and thoughts when things go wrong. It’s a sort of letting go—which can ultimately aid you in moving forward. When you can be ok with things falling into place exactly how they will, you can tackle life with more grace and ease.
How to Apply Amor Fati to Your Own Life Philosophy
So how can you apply an amor fati philosophy to your own modern life? Here are six actionable ideas.
1. Stop resisting your current situation.
Maybe you’re not as healthy or fit as you’d like to be. Maybe you wish your relationships were different or that you had another career. Maybe you live in one part of the country when it’s been your lifelong dream to live on the beach.
But if you only think about your past decisions that led you here, looking upon them with judgment and despair, you’ll lose precious energy. An amor fati mindset can allow you to say, here I am: this is the way it is. By releasing your despair over past decisions that may have led you here, you can focus your energy on taking action in the present moment toward the reality you want.
2. Reframe difficult situations as opportunities.
It’s said that when one door closes, another one opens. There is a lot of truth to this. A situation that’s painful in the moment, such as a bad breakup, might not seem like a positive thing while it’s happening. But it can actually be a blessing in disguise.
It could be that a job or relationship just isn’t the one that you’re destined for. Growth is often painful, and transitions are hard. But if you can look at change through the lens of amor fati, you can accept the discomfort that comes with difficulty and realize that it might just be what’s meant to happen. By finding ways to see the glass as half-full instead of empty, you can better equip yourself to seek solutions and overcome challenges.
3. Find the lessons in every obstacle.
We all have goals, and sometimes life gets in the way of them. An amor fati attitude can empower you to discover what a hard situation is teaching you. Failures can be a chance to grow as a person and learn from your mistakes.
So, it’s not a bad thing to fail — in fact, you may just come back stronger than ever and with a renewed sense of determination.
4. Breathe deeply and dig into the present moment.
Amor fati philosophy can help you to live life with mindfulness, and vice versa. Look for ways to be happy right here, right now. Try to live with intention and express gratitude every day.
Go for a walk out in nature or call up an old friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Enjoy every bite of your food. Celebrate all of your wins and learn to relish the simple joys in life. All of these actions will help you practice mindfulness and touch joy in every moment.
5. Cultivate positivity.
Thinking positively has proven benefits. Optimistic people tend to be more productive, more successful, and even have better health. Even little actions can help you cultivate positivity.
Smile on purpose. Compliment someone. Lend a helping hand to a friend or a stranger. Express gratitude for something someone else has done for you. Make time to take care of yourself. Bust out singing and dancing — maybe in the rain! Accept each day as it comes and strive to make the most of it.
6. Check in with yourself often.
Self-awareness is important for many aspects of life. You’re better equipped to handle whatever comes your way when you know yourself. Asking yourself some simple check in questions can help you see when you’re falling away from being fully present.
Consider what you’re thinking and feeling and why. Breathe into difficult feelings when they arise. Try to practice gratitude and live each day with intention.
Reflect upon the emotions that you’re feeling and where they might be coming from. Let go of things that are no longer serving you and embrace exactly where you are on your journey.
Final Thoughts on Amor Fati
Sometimes life isn’t easy. But oftentimes, the road leads you to where you need to be, even if it’s a winding one. Passed down from antiquity, amor fati is a valuable philosophy that can help you let go of things that don’t serve you. Amor fati helps you take whatever comes with grace and acceptance.
Keeping amor fati in the back of your mind can help you find little ways to be fully present in the here and the now. When you’re able to do this, it’s easier to rise up strong and have faith that things will pan out just how they should.
Rather than spend time living in regret for the past, you can spend your energy moving forward toward all the beautiful things that are destined for you.