Don’t blame yourself for your problems

Perhaps the title says it all, but I’ll try to elaborate.

For much of our lives, we make assumptions about our own power. Infants push their mobile in their crib to cause it to move. As adults, we push on the gas pedal of a car to cause it to move. And push on the brake pedal to cause the car to stop.

When good things happen to us, we assume it is because we did something right in life. When something bad happens to us, we often assume it is because we “caused” it to happen, or that we deserve it.

When there are problems in our lives, we often look for the meaning by thinking about what we’ve done wrong. We feel the purpose behind the pain is essentially to “teach us a lesson” by punishing us.

As a teacher, one of my most difficult assignments is teaching a “research methods and statistics” course. In that course, we target many of the myths of research and statistics. One of those myths is “Correlation = Causation.” For example, just because the rooster crows early morning before the sun comes up does not mean that the rooster caused the sun to come up.

Sometimes our challenges in life come to us because they just happen. Yes, some problems can be averted by making good choices, but even bad things happen to good people. Sometimes you have to see your challenges without taking them so personally.

 

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