Culture | Learning | Personal Growth | Philosophy

Change Begins With Understanding

“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you
don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not
doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or
less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have
problems with our friends or family, we blame the other
person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will
grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive
effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason
and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no
reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you
understand, and you show that you understand, you can
love, and the situation will change.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

I have a low tolerance for blame. Blame doesn’t reach for solutions, blame swims in the dark pool of emotion trying to drown everyone else. There’s no productivity in blame.

And yet I struggle with it. Blaming the world for not choosing better leaders, blaming the unvaccinated for the Delta variant, blaming myself for not focusing more on disciplined action during a pandemic. And what does that do? Stirs resentment with all that is around us. And so I work to drown the blame instead of directing it at others. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Look for solutions instead of scapegoats.

I know why the lettuce won’t grow: there’s a determined and hungry family of rabbits who keep eating it. And in knowing that I can find a solution. A fence, or a dog, or raised beds… the solutions come to you when you start looking for one. And isn’t that what we desire most? To change the situation we first must change our state. And to see with an open mind.

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