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Blame & Magical Thinking

3 Levels of Magical Thinking

“We can complain of nothing but ourselves.” —Seneca

“It is the peculiar quality of a fool to perceive the faults of others and to forget his own.” —Cicero

“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.” —Albert Ellis

3 Levels of Magical “It” & “That” Thinking

Level One

  • It made me mad.”
  • That makes me mad.”
  • Complete irresponsibility, a.k.a. voodoo emotions and superstitious thinking.

The person who makes such a statement believes that “it” or “that” crawled into their mind through their ear and took over their mind by its own power and will. Perhaps they watched too many science fiction movies.

Level Two

  • “I let it get to me.”
  • “I let that get to me.”
  • Halfhearted responsibility, a.k.a. magical thinking.

The person who makes such a statement believes that “it” or “that” crawled into their mind through their ear and took over their mind because they gave it the power to do so. Perhaps they never got over the childish fear that adults hear and can control your mind.

Level Three

  • “I upset myself about it.”
  • “I upset myself about that.”
  • Emotional responsibility (ER), a.k.a. maturity.

The person who makes such a statement believes that “it” or “that” was an occasion for their deciding to think self-disturbing thoughts.

In truth, fact, and reality there is neither an “it” nor a “that” outside of your mind that can upset you.

  • What exists to upset you is your upsetting thoughts.

No one can ever show you the “it” or the “that” that they are upset about because it exists only in their mind. Even though sometimes people can show you the actual thing they are upset about, it is still never the “it” or “that” that they have in mind about it. Perhaps they never got over being a victim as a child.

6 Levels of Blame

Level One

  • I blame self, others, life, or God.
  • Complete immaturity a.k.a. whining.

Level Two

  • I blame my behavioral choices.
  • Average adult responsibility level.

Level Three

  • I blame my stinking thinking.
  • Beginning of significant responsibility taking.

Level Four

  • I blame my thinking choices.
  • The level of mature thinking.

Level Five

  • I blame my scripts for my thinking choices.
  • The highest mental understanding of causation.

Level Six

  • I blame my flesh nature for being drawn to death and destruction.
  • The beginning spiritual understanding of causation.

Book cover for "Garden Your Mind"

Quotations from Various Sources

Organized Alphabetically

“A baby expects to be soothed, but a mature adult soothes themselves.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice 

“A man’s as miserable as he thinks he is.” —Marcus Seneca 

“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.” —Francis Bacon 

“Accuse not Nature, she hath done her part; Do thou but thine.” —John Milton in Paradise Lost 

“Adults are expert at self-disturbance and inept at self-soothing.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice 

“All we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.” —Charles Kingsley 

“An excuse is a lie guarded.” —Jonathan Swift 

“Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?” —Anonymous 

“But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.” —Galatians 6:4 

“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” —Mark Twain 

“Each man the architect of his own fate.” —Sallust 

“Either do not attempt at all, or go through with it.” —Ovid 

“Great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance.” —Samuel Johnson 

“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” —W. E. Henley, Invictus 

“If pleasure first, the pain second.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice 

“If we have not peace within ourselves, it is in vain to seek it from outward sources.” —Francois de La Rochefoucauld 

“It is impossible to suffer without making someone pay for it; every complaint already contains revenge.” —Friedrich Nietzsche

“It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.” —Agnes Repplier 

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” —William Shakespeare 

“Life always gets harder towards the summit–the cold increases, responsibility increases.” —Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, 1844-1900 

“Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.” —Anonymous 

“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.” —Jean-Paul Sartre, 1905-1980 

“Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will–his personal responsibility in the realm of faith and morals.” —Albert Schweitzer 

“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” —Abraham Lincoln 

“My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.” —Oprah Winfrey 

“No one has ever gotten to anyone.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice 

“Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson 

“Nothing stops the man who desires to achieve. Every obstacle is simply a course to develop his achievement muscle. It’s a strengthening of his powers of accomplishment.” —Eric Butterworth 

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” —Michael Jordan 

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” —Anonymous 

“Some pursue happiness, others create it.” —Anonymous 

“Teaching the principle of emotional responsibility can be one of the hardest tasks in REBT as clients may have habitually blamed others for their problems and now the therapist is pointing to the true source of their emotional problems–themselves.” —Michael Neenan and Windy Dryden, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy: Advances in Theory and Practice, p. 43 

“The ability to accept responsibility is the measure of the man.” —Roy Smith 

“The farther behind I leave the past, the closer I am to forging my own character.” —Isabelle Eberhardt 

“The fault, Dear Brutus, is not in our stars; but in ourselves, that we are underlings.” —William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar 

“The more you are willing to accept responsibility for your actions, the more credibility you will have.” —Brian Koslow 

“The only disability in life is a bad attitude.” —Scott Hamilton 

“The U. S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.” —Benjamin Franklin 

“The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life is the source from which self-respect springs.” —Joan Didion 

“There is no man so low that the cure for his condition does not lie strictly within himself.” —Thomas L. Masson 

“We can actually put the essence of neurosis in a single word: blaming–or damning.” —Albert Ellis and Robert A. Harper, A Guide to Rational Living, Third Edition, p. 127 

“We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” —Carlos Castenada 

“What poison is to food, self-pity is to life.” —Oliver C. Wilson 

“Whatever may be, I am still largely the creator and ruler of my emotional destiny.” —Albert Ellis and Robert A. Harper, A Guide to Rational Living, Third Edition, p. 252 

“While they were saying among themselves it cannot be done, it was done.” —Helen Keller 

“Why is it that people are willing to take responsibility for their happiness or mild sadness but not their severe disturbance or great unhappiness?—why ego of course!” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice