Everything Has Two Handles

I tried to explain this to my students this morning and botched it badly, so here it is, fresh from my copy of The Art of Living: the Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness, by the Stoic philosopher Epictetus:

"Everything has two handles: one by which it may be carried, the other by which it can't. // If, for example, your brother or sister treats you poorly, don't grasp the situation by the handle of hurt or injustice, or you won't be able to bear it and you will become bitter. Do the opposite. Grasp the situation by the handle of familiar ties. In other words, focus on the fact that this is your brother or sister, that you were brought up together, and thus have an enduring, unbreakable bond. Viewing the situation that way, you understand it correctly and preserve your equilibrium." (Interpretation by Sharon Lebell, 71)

image from http://casteelart.com/users/gail