Stop blaming yourself

photo of cows on a highway taken from a car

The New York times ran a really interesting article by a therapist last week. He argued that therapists (and, I would extrapolate, American culture) encourage people to turn their blame inwards. To focus on their own ability to keep up with constantly increasing demands from workplace and society – seek ways to handle more in an unreasonable world.

Therapy, he says, can help people find ways to reduce those demands instead of looking for ways to help people manage them. He closes with this paragraph:

“You would be surprised how seldom it occurs to people that their problems are not their fault. By focusing on fairness and justice, a patient may have a chance to find what has so frequently been lost: an ability to care for and stand up for herself. Guilt can be replaced with a clarifying anger, one that liberates a desire — and a demand — to thrive, to turn outward toward others rather than inward, one that draws her forward to make change.”

To which I say YES. So many yeses. That’s what I want to do here, too. Not make people brave enough to be good robots for a broken world – to help them be brave enough to start changing it for the better.