Trouble Comes From Within

“For nothing outside my reasoned choice can hinder or harm it — my reasoned choice alone can do this to itself. If we would lean this way whenever we fail, and would blame only ourselves and remember that nothing but opinion is the cause of a troubled mind and uneasiness, then by God, I swear we would be making progress.”


We can’t blame others when they don’t exactly match our expectations, can we? The expectations, after all, come from us.

Likewise, we can’t blame circumstances for our troubles. We have to set aside the situation, and instead recognize the emotions that are bubbling up within us, and focus on those emotions as the only thing within our control. And anyway, as we’ve learned, when obstacles are thrown in our path they can be converted to an advantage with the right perspective.

When our mind is troubled and uneasy, we can really only blame ourselves. Now, it’s never considered good advice to drop a heavy guilt trip on yourself. I’m not advocating for that at all. But we have to take responsibility as Stoics for the role that’s played by our own perception and reception of life’s events.

It’s how we receive life, isn’t it? That’s what we can control — how we respond to the curveballs that are thrown at us. That’s what our “reasoned choice” helps us with: how to respond.

And nothing can affected our reasoned choice and its resilience and fortitude, except for ourselves. We do that to ourselves, and we have no one else to blame when we do. We drag ourselves down.

If we can recognize that trouble comes from within, and stop being the source… then we can focus on letting go of what’s outside our control. And then we’re halfway there and making progress!

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