Amor Fati: How to Accept What You Cannot Change

No matter who you are or what you do, there are some things in life that you cannot change. You can try to fight against them all you want, but in the end, they will always remain part of who you are. This is something that we must come to terms with and learn to accept – Amor Fati, or love of fate. By embracing the things we cannot change, we can learn to live a happier and more fulfilling life. Let’s take a deep dive into Amor Fati and what you can take away from its teachings

May I have the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

What is the Meaning of Amor Fati?

Amor Fati is a Latin phrase that means “love of fate”. It is often associated with the Stoic philosophy, which teaches that one should accept whatever happens to them in life. This is what German philosopher Nietzsche said about Amor Fati: 

“My formula for human greatness is Amor Fati. That one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backwards, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it….but love it.”

In other words, Amor Fati is the acceptance of everything that happens to you in life, even the bad things. It is about accepting your fate and not resisting what is out of your control.

Amor Fati in Action

It’s one thing to understand Amor Fati, but it’s another thing to put it into practice. Amor Fati is not just a mental exercise, it’s a way of life.

An Unlikely List of Tragic Events

Let’s imagine a scenario to put Amor Fati into practice. You work in a company that recently announced that a great number of its employees would be laid off because of a reorganization. To make matters worse, you heard the news from your doctor that you might suffer from a chronic illness. Also, the relationship with your partner isn’t going well at all.

Holy smokes! The obstacles that have appeared in your life are of such significance that it is almost certain that your life will drastically change. And it’s almost guaranteed that your life is changing in a direction you oppose. So what mindset should you adopt?

Option 1: Letting Anxiety Take Over

One option is to continuously worry and keep yourself up at night to worry some more. You’ll ask yourself, will I be laid off, and if so, what am I supposed to do next? What if my chronic illness hinders me from finding another job? What if I can’t pay my mortgage? What if my partner leaves me?

Some of these questions you can change, others you can not. The underlying truth is that much of what happens to us in our future is beyond our control at the end of the day. 

That’s precisely the problem that many people make, we worry about the things that we cannot change. We become control freaks who simply cannot handle insecurity. Therefore we generate unneeded and unhelpful anxiety because of the uncertainty. This only serves to worsen our position and negatively impact the lives of those around us.

Option 2: Embrace Amor Fati

The other option is to fully embrace fate no matter what.

Amor Fati doesn’t mean you sit on your ass all day and let life pass by. It means that you make the best out of every moment. It means that you work towards your goals and give it everything you’ve got. If the results turn out to be different than expected we fully embrace and accept our fate. This is the true measure of a being master student and having a growth mindset.

Suppose you keep your job, great. If you get laid off, make the best out of it. Perhaps better opportunities will present themselves to you. Maybe you’ll become an entrepreneur. Maybe you’ll get your dream job. The future is uncertain.

Suppose you turn out to be healthy, great. If you turn out to be chronically ill, make the best out of it. Despite the fact you’re sick many have been able to live long and prosperous life by finding their Ikigai. They become humanity’s greatest inspirations.

Suppose your partner stays by your side; great. If your partner leaves you, well, good riddance; you can now focus on yourself and experience things like personal growth, deep introspection, and the joy of solitude. Perhaps a more suitable person might appear in your life along the way.

What can we Learn from Amor Fati?

Changes in life can be both exciting and scary.

When life changes into a desirable position, you’ll experience great pleasure. In most cases, people become infatuated and reside on a proverbial pink cloud when they encounter a radical life change like winning the lottery. Amor Fati will help you appreciate and be grateful for the good changes.

When life changes into a position you are opposed to, like losing a loved one or ending up in prison, you’ll experience significant pain. Amor Fati will give you the strength to endure it and find solutions. Either way, life goes on, and no matter where you end up, there will always be one thing you have to work with: the present moment. Don’t let your past define you! Amor Fati won’t stop the bad from happening, but it will give you a greater chance of making the best out of every situation. Amor Fati will provide you with the power to change your mindset and take control of your life.

When there’s nothing you can do to change a situation don’t let anxiety waste your life’s energy and make you feel miserable. In combination with Memento Mori, Amor Fati teaches us to embrace our destiny no matter what, and we’ll have nothing to fear. The sun is shining. Enjoy life.

Leave a Reply