I’ve noticed that many people, upon learning about almost any calamity, have a tendency to point out how sufferer was at least partly to blame. (I’ve done the same thing.) Fire, flood, illness, cancer, divorce, conflict, mechanical failure, burglary, broken pencil, you name it–many of us can quickly see how it could have been prevented. The implication being that it wouldn’t have happened to us, wise, cautious and savvy people that we are.
We may be right, but such an approach tends to block other responses that reflect a more caring nature. Recently I heard someone say, about a home accident, ”How tragic! I’ve done the same thing myself and never thought anything bad would happen. I’m going to let this be a lesson to me so I don’t have to go through what they’re dealing with.” It sounded refreshingly empathetic and completely devoid of sanctimonious blame!
Try it sometime soon: When someone tells you about a problem they have had, an illness they are going through or a situation that frustrates them, focus your thinking on understanding, rather than mentally shaking your head at how they brought it all upon themselves. You might not be completely successful, but it will be good self-discipline.