We live in a ‘blame culture’ where we are encouraged to find someone to blame and ‘make them pay’.
It feels normal to spend time working out who or what is to blame when we are unhappy or something we didn’t want to happen, happens.
Blame is not the same as responsibility but the words are often confused. Experience how differently those words feel when you say them individually. Blame is censuring, shaming and critical, responsibility is empowering and full of possibilities for change to happen.
Blame keeps everything stuck. You establish who is to blame by going back over the past, and once you have done that you are right back where you started. No further forward at all.
However unproductive blame is, boy, does it make you feel better if you can prove that you are not to blame and someone, or something, else is.
Blame at Work
Some companies confuse problem solving with blame. They spend a lot of time blaming individual staff for mistakes (usually travelling down the organisation), rather than working out what the problem is and how to solve it. People often don’t understand the difference it makes to a person’s attitude and performance if they are scared to make a mistake and worried about being punished.
Blame and Other People
If it is your fault your husband is stressed, he doesn’t have to do anything about it, because if only you were different, he would feel better. You might blame him for how you are feeling and want him to be different, so you can feel better.
Either way you will have those endless ‘oh yes you did, oh no I didn’t’ rows that don’t solve or change anything. Both of you feel aggrieved and resentful of each other.
Beating yourself up, going over and over how stupid or horrible you are, leads to feeling shame, and shame is the most paralysing of all the emotions. “There is something wrong with me, I am not good enough, I am a bad person”, rather than “what I did was a bit stupid, thoughtless or embarrassing”.
It is no wonder we are quick to blame someone else and then not have to feel so terrible about ourselves.
The problem is that no matter how right you are, how awful you, or someone or something else is, blame can only keep you stuck. It doesn’t solve problems at work or in your relationship, change the way you feel, or move you forward to a new place.
Blame makes you powerless as the power to make changes rests outside of you, with someone else…..and, something I know for sure, is that you cannot change another person.
Give Up Playing The Blame Game
Easier said than done – I know. But well worth it as you will be back in the driving set of your life, however uncomfortable that might be.
One of the things we teach our children as they are growing up is that they must take responsibility for their actions and if you accidently hurt someone, or make any other mistake, you apologise and make amends. You teach them to learn from it, hopefully not make the same mistake again and move on.
But you beat yourself up, find it difficult to forgive yourself. You consciously hope that this will stop you doing the same thing again, but all that does is knock your self esteem and confidence, keeps you small and fearful.
Take responsibility for your 50% and not don’t take responsibility for other people’s mistakes. (If you say sorry too much, this is you). You are empowering them as well as yourself here.
Learn radical acceptance. That is not the same as agreeing or condoning something that is wrong but accepting something has happened or that someone is the way they are, however much they are suffering themselves or causing suffering.
Forgiveness. Try Ho’oponopono: Say “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you” over and over until you feel a shift in how you feel towards yourself or other people or even situations. It is very powerful and allows you to let go of old grudges you hold towards other people and yourself, that in turn allows you to move on with ease and grace.