The Subtle Habit of Blame
“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.” – Marcus Aurelius
Philosophers throughout time have consistently reminded us that our happiness is innately intertwined with our virtuous thoughts and deeds. You’ll hear us offer the same reminders. Today’s quote reminds us that it is important to not only bring to mind virtuous attitudes. We also need to be vigilant of the non-virtuous or unhealthy attitudes that arise in our minds.
Sometimes it is much easier to reflect upon the healthy attitudes that we like to nourish in our lives than it is to acknowledge and confront the unhealthy ones. Yet, it is critical that we do if we want to truly cultivate genuine happiness in our lives. It is easy to note strong and reactive emotions and thoughts such as anger or resentment, but there are many more subtle attitudes and habits that can arise in our minds without us easily noticing.
One such attitude is that of blame. When things don’t go our way, or become difficult in some way, creating frustration or suffering in lives, how often does our mind first go to assessing and directing blame instead of to how we can improve it? How often do we reflect on how much better life would be if others were different than they are? This is just one subtle way that our mind can nourish “notions unsuitable to…reasonable nature.” It’s worth reflecting on how many other ways there are that this occurs in our minds, perhaps even on a daily basis. Would it be more productive develop the habit of asking ourselves how we can improve ourselves and the circumstances we are in?
I would like to invite you to take a little time to reflect upon how mental habits such as blame work in your life. Experiment for a day and see if you can notice a tendency to blame and whether or not it is productive. There is a significant difference between assigning blame and identifying problems. See if you can focus on the latter. – John Bruna, February 23, 2016
The above is a an excerpt from one the daily emails sent to the members of the Mindful Life Community. I invite you to explore our community and consider joining.
John, I always found so much wisdom in your shares. I miss Carbondale. But I moved to Portland to be with my boyfriend who recently had a heart transplant. I plan to get your book when have funds. Keep doing your great work enlightening others. Thank you!!!
It is good to hear from you Karen. Thank so much for your kind words. I do hope your boyfriend is recovering well. Please let me know if I can ever be on any help.