You can’t pin everything negative on yourself

There’s an idea, or a mentality, that I have encountered that I find problematic. One that might be exemplified in quotes such as these:

“Never blame anyone in your life.

Good people give you happiness.

Bad people give you experience.

Worst people give you a lesson and

best people give you memories.”

Basically it’s New Age script, the same kind that says “just wait and things will happen at the perfect time”. I think the problem is that it potentially justifies people doing horrible things or generally being assholes to you on the basis that the universe is somehow trying to teach you a lesson. You may gain experience or learn a lesson or two, but that’s not to say somehow this was all meant to happen. Not only that, but it seems to me like it’s accidentally asserting that everything is ultimately your fault, which is at best a flawed assertion that can’t be taken seriously.

Another version of this is the idea that the idea that the negativity of other people is the negativity within us manifested somehow, and that our attitude affects the things that happen to us, which I just can’t take seriously. Almost all the negativity we feel is in reaction to the world, not because of our attitude towards it. If you saw people acting hostile or petty towards you for no good reason, let alone the majority of mankind, you’d react negatively towards the world too, wouldn’t you? And when something negative happens to you, it’s not necessarily your fault.

To be fair, it’s probably purely a motivational thing, meant to get you to get away from negative energy and conquer it. But on the other hand, it feels like the message is that you have to take responsibility for all circumstances, even the ones that aren’t your fault. Perhaps I’m being disingenuous, perhaps I’m missing something, but come on; a lot of the negativity we encounter is due to people generally mistreating other people without regard for how they feel about it or for how negative they make them feel. You can’t let yourself be a victim of it, but you can’t blame people for feeling victimized by it either. And one thing we sometimes have to accept is that, although the self is the primary agent of responsibility in our lives, there are some things that happen entirely outside our control or sphere of influence or just generally have nothing to do with us. I understand that we have to distance ourselves from negativity and negative people, and not let negativity devour us, which is sound advice, but we can’t just be positive all the time.

We are just as capable of feeling negative as we are of feeling positive, and perhaps there is no way to fully appreciate positive without negative, but at the same time we can’t only think positively and you can’t tolerate people creating negative energy for others when they don’t deserve it. If you want to feel negative, feel negative, just as long you don’t choke yourself with negative energy.

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2 responses to “You can’t pin everything negative on yourself

  1. I think the Satanist is the master of their own life, choices and deeds, and thus they are responsible for all their outcomes. Also, it is a matter of attitude how the individual treats their experiences. By changing words and images I can change how I think, for instance by seeing all obstacles as challenges rather than as problems. I can see every experience as an opportunity, because wisdom is the daughter of experience, and all challenges are really opportunities for the individual to live, grow and create, regardless of the situation.

  2. I think it’s a matter of how it’s expressed. It tends to get turned into platitudes and memes, which mainly try to make people feel better, and maybe more philosophical about things going down in their lives, but don’t really give them tools or encouragement to actually take responsibility and learn generally. At a certain level it is a viable approach, but it seems to get posted and quoted in a rather passive way, as a way of letting go and feeling better (which is good), but there also seems to be an assumption that it will make you a more “harmless” person yourself, and that the world is basically all cool – but that might not be the appropriate thing to learn from an experience. But if it were applied intelligently and honestly, it could be helpful, though I probably wouldn’t express it that way. Other people sometimes most certainly are to blame for things, they bear responsibility for their own behaviour, but so do we, including our letting them into our lives, or failing to protect ourselves. But blame isn’t really the point, responsibility is. The thing I find most difficult about these kind of memes going round is the sentimentalism, that never really does well.

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