Am I the one responsible for my suffering?

Contributed by Isabel Hernández Negrin from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria,


“The blame never falls on the ground” is a Cuban saying that I just love. We always dump on someone – and not on myself – the responsibility of whatever happens in general and of whatever happens with me.

It seems like our brain specializes in dodging the issues when it comes to the responsibility for a mistake.

We overestimate ourselves because we think that whatever I do, I do it well. Therefore, the idea that I could be the one responsible for my suffering seems rather ridiculous.

Let us not forget that deception forms a part of the oldest of our brains and forms part of the toolkit for survival.

This tendency becomes apparent right from the oldest of animals: the octopuses that become camouflaged, the stick insects, the frog green in colour like the leaf on which it lives, the chameleons… and us with our slyness and the “It wasn’t me!”

We, therefore, find it difficult to analyse a mistake and calmly accept our responsibility. The blame is something that nobody likes, and in fact for that reason, it’s a mode of easy manipulation among humans. With regard to the responsibility of our own suffering, we tend to do something very similar. We reject it because it is something we do not like. If something displeases us, we try to distance ourselves from it, whether it is a feeling, a thought or something that we have done. If we feel boredom, sadness, helplessness, shame, something that we do not like, we refuse to feel this way and resist being in that situation.

We confront it.

It’s the same thing we do with the external situations that cause us displeasure, we move away because of how they make us feel.

That resistance from living what is there, that we do not like, is responsible for at least 50% of our suffering. One symptom of resistance is the lamentation. I feel sorry for being short or tall, for not having more money, because one of my kids has a problem, for feeling anxious, for the queue for paying in the supermarket, for the work I did not get, because the vacations could have been longer, etc.

The attitude that one adopts in the face of facts, is our responsibility. The facts are what they are and maybe we can change them and maybe not at the moment, but it is definitely our responsibility how we take a stance while facing them, and how we interpret them. For that, we certainly are the ones responsible.

If we feel bothered by every little discomfort, we will never be at peace. Peace in whatever there is.

This does not mean that we do nothing.

No. I am talking about the attitude and the interpretation of the facts.

Resistance to facts is just an example of how we distance ourselves from the suffering.

It’s from that point that many other bad things emerge and when we act this way, we lose our freedom.

Well, we can always choose our attitude.

Remember this whenever you feel sorry for yourself!