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- Jonathan Lockwood Huie (jlh @sail7.com)

The content of all my blogs/websites consists entirely of personal opinion.
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Monday, August 17, 2015

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An Exchange with a Reader about BLAME

The August 17, 2015 Daily Inspiration message was about Blame, and featured quotes such as...

Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past.
Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
- John F. Kennedy


It is an act of great Courage to forsake all Blame.
Take responsibility for your whole life -
regardless of circumstances.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie


In response, a reader wrote:
Nice sentiments, but almost wholly unrealistic.  So much pain is daily inflicted upon people by others, everywhere in the world.  To turn a blind eye to the cause of that pain is not healthy and would never eradicate the sources of the pain or the behavior of the people or institutions that cause it.  Moreover, placing the slightest tinge of blame or responsibility on oneself for the pain inflicted on them by others is horribly psychologically unhealthy.  I love this site and most of its offerings, but it is way off base with these ideas.  They would likely lead victims into depression or worse.  It is far better to face reality and deal with what is, placing the blame and the responsibility where it belongs.

My response to the reader:

Thank you very much for writing. You raise some of the most important points about the nature of our earthly existence.

Absolutely, pain is inflicted upon us daily by others who don't know us personally (politicians, investment bankers, etc), by natural forces [God?] (diseases, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.), as well as by those who know us personally and may wish us harm.

I fully agree with you that one should recognize the sources of our pain, and certainly that we must not blame ourselves for the pain.

Now, the question is how to best deal with the circumstances we are subjected to. One choice is to say, "woe is me, I am a helpless victim, please feel sorry for me." A second choice is to become enraged and to focus one's energies on searching for a way to inflict revenge. A third choice is to live the happiest and most productive life we can in the face of the circumstances life has dealt us.

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
- Buddhist proverb


My personal choice, and the choice I advocate for my readers, is to avoid labeling myself a "victim," to avoid resentments and regrets, to avoid anger and any attempt at revenge, and to be as happy and productive as I can.

And yes, I very much do choose to take action against people or forces that cause me pain - not from the perspective of anger/revenge, but from the perspective of preventing further harm to myself or others. (Consider a hurricane. One can't very well take revenge on a hurricane, but one can rebuild further from the ocean, and use stronger construction techniques.)

May the world be kind to you, and may your own thoughts be gentle upon yourself.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

   

Saturday, August 1, 2015

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How can I find what my happiness is supposed to be or look like?

From a reader: I'm going through some life stuff right now. People are always telling me to just 'be happy.' Honestly have no idea what that means... I've lived my life as a single mom. No idea what I'm to do now that they are all 'grown-ups.' How can I find what my happiness is supposed to be or look like when that's always seemed like such a luxury? Thanks.

My reply:

Thank you for writing.

For most people, happiness comes from service. In spite of the challenges and the long hours, I'm sure you received a large portion of happiness from being of service to your children.

The only ones among you who will be really happy
are those who will have sought and found how to serve.
- Albert Schweitzer


Look for a balance of pampering yourself (which you certainly deserve, and which would be a pleasant change of pace), finding new interests, and finding new ways to be of service to others.

As far as "happiness," that is much more a matter of choosing to be grateful for your life, and choosing to be happy, than a matter of the circumstances of your life.

Happiness doesn't depend on any external conditions,
it is governed by our mental attitude.
- Dale Carnegie

We tend to forget that happiness doesn't
come as a result of getting something we don't have,
but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.
- Frederick Koenig


May the world be kind to you, and may your own thoughts be gentle upon yourself.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie