attributing blame


I write a lot about the past here on this blog. My readers ask, why not focus on the present and the future instead of zooming in on what’s happened in the past?

Undoubtedly, being present in the moment of now is paramount to enjoying our lives, and also for the future to take shape. Indulging in the past and what is bygone serves no value added purpose. Nonetheless, I believe in reflecting on the past – to understand the present, to avoid the same mistakes, and to identify areas that need change. This is also the reason why we need to reflect on the past year as 2011 comes to an end.

We need to give ourselves credit for our efforts, and identify new directions to take, year end or not.

Most importantly, looking into the past helps us take responsibility for our actions and decisions.

My purpose in writing about the past is not to blame my job, my career, my education, my mother, the external environment or the weather for what has happened to me. Surely, all these factors played a part in molding my thoughts and hence directly or indirectly my demise in the last 2 years, for all this experience and interaction triggered emotions in me. If not a causal relationship between all these aspects and my depression and ill health from stress, then at least there is some correlation.

Then why look back?

past, blame, self awareness, depression, take responsibility for actinos

Because ultimately, I need to take ownership of what has happened in my life, and be responsible for it, in order for me to take a fresh perspective as I move on.

I decided to sign up for the job, I decided to take part in the moot court competition, I decided that I wanted to win, I decided to be angry, consciously or not, when I didn’t get that posting, I decided to keep on going to work even though my head was exploding with pain, and I chose to ignore my body’s warning signals and denied I needed any help.

At the end of the day, however harsh the environmental pull, I was the one who put myself through it all.

Of course, I didn’t choose which family to grow up in, or school to go to, so there’s no use in beating myself up for it either, and go about being bitter about my childhood – and honestly, it wasn’t all that bad.

So, all these retrospective analysis is not to attribute blame and hold people guilty.

It is for a better understanding for myself to avoid the same mistakes again, such as ignoring how stressed out I was.

I’m not indulging in the past; rather I’m confronting suppressed thoughts and feelings, dealing with them, and moving on.

I encourage everyone to go through this process, to dig deep into the thoughts and causes behind emotions we feel, especially the negative ones. Let us feel our emotions to the naked depth that they would take us. It is not so easy to deal with suppressed hurt and pains, since it’s not pleasant. And trust me, you would go through extraordinarily  bad days in doing so. Yet, it’s a necessary evil. It’s how you break free from the bonds.

Everyone has their own stories and I believe everyone needs to face it – for the present, and the future.

And it is our own responsibility to do so, a responsibility we owe only to ourselves.

33 Responses

  1. You’ve just said what and how i feel about looking back and refelcting and owning your past to do better in the future. But you said it so much more eloquently and beautifully than i ever could.
    I look back quite often. Sometime i call it reflection. other times i’m just sulking . Ultimately it’s what i do with what i see in the past. I can use it to better my situation or do nothing. I’m trying to turn over a new leaf and be more intentional in my actions and thoughts. I think 2012 will be a good year for you and me both. Happy New year to you.

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Annie – i sometimes sulk too!! Ahahha. I guess its a thin line between reflecting and indulging. We are allowed to sulk i think, as long as we dont over do it. Thanks for coming by!! I’ll be over yours soon. I like that you are called chief adventurologist – lots of energy and enthusiasm in the name!
      Noch Noch

      • Christina says:

        Thank you so much for your story. I go through this everyday where I’m always thinking of the past. This is why I’m reading your blog to learn and hopefully help me with the some of the issues I go through. I can relate to you, Noch Noch in a lot of ways. I agree with you when you said that we should look at the past and learn from it. I regret things in my past but I’m getting better with not trying to look at it that way and look at it as a learning experience for me to get to the next chapter in my life.

        • nochnoch says:

          Hi Christina

          Glad to know you are on a self-awareness journey. I hope my writing has helped inspire your thinking. It pains me to know so many people suffer, but I hope we all find our tunnel through to the light somehow!

          Noch Noch

  2. Akos Fintor says:

    Dear Noch Noch ,

    I just got off the phone (Skype that is) with one of my friend who’s wife is a suicidal manic depressive woman.
    My friend who’s only 35 turned into and old man in less than 10 years by going through some really hard times with his lady.
    She’s constantly blaming her alcoholic dad and depressive mom for who she’s today, a miserable, helpless person.
    My buddy says that she has never spent a minute in the precious present moment. Her thoughts robbed by past suffering and pointless future.
    To me past and future are just thoughts and my power lies in the now.

    Thank you for the share!


    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Akos – nice to meet you here. Thanks for sharing your story. Kudos to your buddy for standing by his wife. My fiance had about2 years of me really low and already it was difficult. I absolutely agree with you – the moment of now is what we need to live in. Its what gives us power.
      I’m sorry to read abt your friend’s wife. Whilst I look to the past to understand my thoughts, I know its important to move on. A lot of things cannot be changed fr the past, but we can change how we look at the past. I hope your friend’s wife break free from the chains soon.
      All the best
      Noch Nocj

  3. I always look to blame myself before blaming something or someone else. It is easy to throw blame in other directions, but we must look within.
    If I fail in school I must look at myself because I must find the solution to my own problems. If I am late to work and stuck in traffic, it is not because of the traffic, but because I did not leave early enough. If I can not get a girlfriend, it is not because life is unfair, but because I am probably not properly grooming myself and thus lowering my confidence.
    It is easier to see our faults when we actually look for them. We can not go around life blaming everything on everyone else, because people will start to disappear out of our lives fast.

    Hope this makes sense!

    God bless,
    William Veasley

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi William – yes we have our own responsibilities for everything, but perhaps what I failed to write in this post, is that we also need not beat ourselves up for everything. A little credit, a little accountability, all a balance. You are right, we must look within though, and it makes total sense, we cannot go around lamenting life!
      Take care, and may God bless you too in 2012 and years to come!
      Noch Noch

  4. I used to spend a lot of time in my past, coming up with all the people and things to blame for my situation. That was not a happy life.

    Today, if there’s something I’m unhappy about, I stop to think about how I put myself there and, taking advantage of the present moment, what I can do RIGHT NOW to change it. I ask myself, “What would a person who already has what I want or feels the way I want to feel do right now?” And I do that and take it one step at a time.

    Taking real personal responsibility is truly transformative. Thank you for demonstrating more ways we can implement it into our lives.

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Paige (and thanks for teaching me how to pronouce your name :)) – That’s a great question to ask oneself: what can i do right now?
      I need to take this question up too, hold myself responsibility for my thoughts and actions, and environmental factors, are well, environmental factors!
      Take care in 2012! Look forward to more wisdom from you too here and on your blog!
      NOch Noch

  5. Howard says:

    The past is the reason why you are what you are now, and the force to direct yourself to be what you want to be in the future. Painful as it were, but it tells you what you should be.

    No matter what, embrace your past and look forward.

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Howard – very true. good line “no matter what, embrace you past and look forward” – I like that. we can’t indulge anymore. I hope you will move forward too 🙂

  6. Hi Noch,
    Without the past there is no future. And while the attention should remain in the present, the lessons come from our past. Perhaps, accumulative past experience of many lifetimes. We should not deny were we come from.

    Thank you for your introspect! 🙂


    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Vlad – yup indeed, i like how you say “should not deny where we come from”. it makes up who we are today. so i think embracing the past is the positive way forward! 🙂
      All the best in 2012!
      Noch Noch

  7. Christine Yuen Stedmann says:

    Dear Enoch, that’s your name when I first met you on course in St. Albans, London, UK. First of all – congratulations on recovering from depression. I have read every single post on your blog in the last three days and I’m most amazed by how honest you are and how in touch your writing is with your inner self. I relate mostly to your posts about the “denial” stages of depression. As I read along post by post, I resonate with a few of the same symtoms of stress/ depression which I experienced back in 2006. I don’t believe our jobs helped the situation but most importantly, your blog made me realise how easy it is to overlook and ignore signs of stress! I left the bank in 2008 – well they quit on me as my role became redundant. I think I fell into depression again in 2008 but only briefly as I was lucky enough to remind myself each day all the wonderful things I’ve been blessed with and all the people in my life who love me so dearly. It’s a working progress each day – recovering from depression. Although I’ve not been formally diagnosed by a shrink, as you say, we know ourselves best. I think I was suffering from one form of stress/ depression or another , in some shape or form. Since I left the bank, I got married and became a new mum to a beautiful baby girl. I am very grateful for all that I have, but I totally relate to your posts about striving to be perfect, and always “chasing” for the next better thing to improve, to achieve, etc. I too, became very ill and took months off work so when HR called me to a meeting that day in 2008 and told me I was one of the ones they were making redundant, I think NOW, in hindsight, it was a blessing in disguise. I don’t mean to ramble on , but I couldn’t help but get in touch. I think your blog is amazing, I think you ought to be so proud of your achievements. Your blog is very relateable. Even though I’m lucky that I never felt suicidal, your blog definitely made me believe that I was not alone during my darkest days in 2006 and 2008.
    Hope to see you again soon. Take good care of yourself and congrats on your engagement. You will make such a beautiful bride.

    ~PaigeLondon x

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Christine

      Thanks SO much for your comment and messages to me. I’m happy and flattered you read through all my blog. Also appreciate that you shared your experience! Yes it’s a few years since St Albans days… we’ve both come a long way. I’m glad life is working out for you, and you found someone to take care of you, and the joy of motherhood!! All these yes, is as you say, blessings in disguise, which we can’t see except in retrospect. I guess we just have to soldier on. THanks for supporting my blog, and feel free to pass on my rambles to others who might need a boost of energy, or even to know that they are not alone.
      Take care my dear, and yes let me know if you come to this part of the world to Beijing!

      Noch Noch

  8. […] to do in 2012, I dare to stray from convention and look at my attitude and outlook in life in the past 30 years. After all, if I don’t understand my thoughts and actions in the past, how will I go about […]

  9. Rory says:

    I loved this article, and I am in full agreement with it. I hope you don’t mind, but I linked to it from, wanting to send others in your direction.

    I have only just discovered your site, and it warms my heart.

    “Don’t Invest. Give” over at Pick the Brain was an absolute beaut, too.

    I’m just off to read your Kung Fu Panda post. If it says what I think it’s gonna say, I might just let out a yelp!

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Rory

      Thanks for coming by – of course I don’t mind the linking, in fact thank you so much for it!!! I read your blog just now as well and really like the questions you ask, and the quips you quote on your website to help us think. I don’t think everyone will all agree with the same premises, but I think what’s important is that we all think for ourselves and determine what course we take, after understanding who we are

      Did you yelp after reading the Kung Fu Panda post? If not, what are your thoughts on it? Would love to know

      Thanks again and hope you will come back

      Noch Noch

  10. Rory says:

    I did yelp. I’ve just posted why over with Po.

    And I agree with your further sentiments over here, too. “Understanding who we” are is the key, for sure.

    • nochnoch says:

      ahha Rory, awesome!!! understanding who we are is also a process I’m discovering, learning to be patient as I discover
      Noch Noch

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about Noch Noch

Enoch Li, (pen name: Noch Noch) was born and raised in Hong Kong and Australia. She has also studied / worked / lived in the US, France, UK, Japan, The Netherlands, China, and has travelled to more than 40 countries. She loves travelling and her curiosity in foreign cultures and languages has led her to enjoy her life as an international executive in the banking & finance industry. However, she was forced to take time off work in 2010 due to her illnesses and after spending time in recovery, cooking, practising Chinese calligraphy, reading and writing – in short, learning to take care of herself and letting out the residual work stress, she has transitioned into a Social Entrepreneur and founded BEARAPY to help corporates make workplaces mentally healthy, and support executives to become more resilient.