To Accuse Others for One’s Own Misfortunes is a Sign of Want of Education. To Accuse Oneself Shows that One’s Education has Begun

Wikipedia defines accusation as:

“….is a statement by one person asserting that another person or entity has done something improper. The person who makes the accusation is an accuser, while the subject against whom it is made is the accused.”

Now I do not need to be a sScientist to tell you this, but I have a strong inclination to say that almost all of us have donned either of those two roles if not both at some point in our past.

Why is it so easy for us to do that?

The answer is simple.

Self-interest guides a lot of our decision making. We, as a species, are known for that.

Destroyed forests, ruined marine life, destruction of habitats of non-human life forms, to say a few, are a testimony to that. Truth be told, most of us care more about ourselves than others.

The Blame Game

We all think we deserve the best things in the world. And what do we do when something gets in the way of that?

We blame.

We blame people.

We blame circumstances.

To use psychological terms, we self serve.

This is when Epictetus holds a mirror to ourselves by this quote:

“To accuse others for one’s own misfortunes is a sign of want of education; to accuse oneself shows that one’s education has begun and to accuse neither oneself nor others shows that one’s education is complete.”

So, where do we start?

We start with self awareness. We spend some time getting to know the person we are. Be cognizant of our strengths and accepting of our weaknesses.

Let’s consider an example.

We may want to be a rocket scientist or an astronaut, but ignoring the fact that we suck at Sciences and Math is not going to make the journey easier. Not for us and certainly not for the space mission.

That is NOT to say that we can not be one in the future; we very well can, if we persist and acquire the required skills.

Blaming poor scores on a deliberately tough paper set by the teacher is not helping us in any way. By doing that, all we are doing is preserving our ego, not to feel bad that very instant.

But what we fail to appreciate is the impact such an attitude has on the effort we are capable of putting in.

Blaming your spouse for your bad mood does not make your mood better, does it? It does just the opposite, and what’s worse is that it atleast doubles the time it’s going to take you both to return to normalcy.

The answer, as they say, always lies within.

When something goes awry, instead of looking for factors that help you escape blame, focus on solving the problem at hand. And this is where self awareness will come in handy.

To err is human. With the acceptance of that error, we acknowledge to ourselves the areas of improvement. And nothing bad ever comes out of self improvement.

Realization that you are the master of your own fate is sometimes scary, yes, but also empowering.

As Epictetus points out:

“ accuse oneself shows that one’s education has begun”

Pat yourself on the back for taking a brave step in the direction of this education.

Remember what our beloved Aristotle said:

Well begun is half done.


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