We know that Marcus Aurelius cried when he was told that his favorite tutor passed away. We know that he cried that day in court, when he was overseeing a case and the attorney mentioned the countless souls who perished in the plague that had ravaged Rome.
We can imagine Marcus cried many other times. This was a man who was betrayed by one of his most trusted generals. This was a man who lost his wife of 35 years. This was a man who lost eightchildren, including all but one of his sons. Marcus didn’t weep because he was weak. He didn’t weep because he was un-Stoic. He cried because he was human. Because these very painful experiences made him sad.
Antoninus, Marcus’s stepfather, seemed to be a bit more in touch with his emotions than his young stepson. He seemed to understand how hard Marcus worked to master his temper and his ambitions and his temptations and that this occasionally made him feel bottled up. So when his stepson’s tutor died and he watched the boy sob uncontrollably, he wouldn’t allow anyone to try to calm him down or remind him of the need for a prince to maintain his composure. “Neither philosophy nor empire,” Antoninus said, “takes away natural feeling.”
The same goes for you. No matter how much philosophy you’ve read. No matter how much older you’ve gotten or how important your position or how many eyes are on you. It’s OK to cry. You’re only human. It’s okay to act like one.