Self Discipline by Mark Werling

The Life of Discipline by Mark A. Werling

Some of us avoid responsibility for our problems by placing too much blame on ourselves. Some of us blame ourselves for our problem. We assume that we are at fault and the only cause of our problems. We may say, "My child has bad behavior because I have not spent enough time with them." Or "I can't stop smoking (drinking, feeling depressed, etc.) because I am just not strong enough." Or "I can't fix that because I just don't have the talent for that."

What we are doing when we think this way is to avoid the problem by saying to ourselves, "Well, there is nothing I can do about this because I am ineffective, I have no skill, I don't have the knowledge to solve this problem. The only way this problem can be solved is for it to go away or to get better by itself."

To the extent we think this way, i.e. always blaming our problems on ourselves, or on our lack of skills, shows an indication of our poor mental health and our lack of success with friends, family, and job situations. While we all have this tendency to some extent, if this thinking is routine in our lives and interferes with successful interaction with others, it is called neurosis.

When we have neurosis, we assess too much responsibility on ourselves for our problems. We assume that we are at fault. When we think this way we can not easily find solutions to real problems because we tell ourselves that the problem is our fault. And if it is my fault it is because I am ineffective, that I don't know how to solve the problem, and therefore there is little I can do about it. I will wait for it to go away or get better on it's own.

We find that most children and adolescents share this characteristic of neurotic thinking until they develop maturity. Children will often believe that they are the cause of the problem. The will blame themselves and their believed inadequacies for their problems. Children learn to develop their rational problem solving thinking by having parents and other adults as models to the correct way of problem solving, that is, neither assuming too much fault on others or on the other hand, not assuming that they themselves are always to blame. Over time children learn to distinguish what is the real cause of any problem and how to solve the problem at hand in a reasonable, rational manner without resorting to procrastination or blaming others or themselves, or denial of the problem itself.

To learn the second way that we avoid problem solving go to: Character Disordered Thinking

To continue with the subject go to: Successful Living (continued)

More Mark Werling Essays - Addiction and the Integrated Life

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