The last couple of blogs were about trust and autonomy, looking at how we can have lost trust in ourselves and others. Now it’s worth considering how we then move forward with this. As a society, we are always looking to apportion blame: your fault? My fault? Whose fault was it? This has become a trillion-dollar question in our world. We are now suing anyone we can because of it. Blame is the act of censuring, holding responsible and making negative statements about an individual, a group or ourselves that the actions are socially or morally irresponsible.
This is the complete opposite of praise, when someone is morally responsible for doing something wrong, we can call their actions blameworthy. You put the heat too high and burnt the pan, or on your way out, you forget your phone and make yourself late by having to go back for it, or maybe you accidentally bump into something or someone and hurt yourself. When accidents like this happen to you, what’s your first thought? Do you immediately figure out who was at fault, other than you? Or you do resign yourself to accepting responsibility for such common mishaps that were under your control? Or can you just laugh it off and just move on.
The blame game is a personal thing that we all engage in, we can either be a blamer or an acceptance type of person. You could attribute the burned meal to your partner, who doesn’t help enough around the house, forcing you to multitask and forget the chicken simmering in the pan. You do not blame yourself for forgetting the phone, you blame having to be at work earlier, which made you have to rush out and leave it behind. It’s whatever you bumped into, be it the wall, a person, a door, etc. which are hazardous and to blame for what happened. At the other end of the spectrum are you the person who blame themselves for everything, even when they’ve had nothing to do with an unfortunate outcome? This isn’t just false modesty or fishing for reassurance; some people do believe that they are the cause of every bad thing that has, or could happen around them. They are the people you bump into and they say sorry, the people who can’t give you the right change and apologies and these people will say the word sorry way more than the blamers. In fact, you will notice that they say sorry lots of times every day for almost anything they do.
It’s also possible, of course, to blame fate or a higher power, especially when there’s no one else who could conceivably have caused the outcome. You certainly wouldn’t be able to blame your partner, or yourself, for the devastating effect of a tree crashing through your roof in a storm, although maybe you’d blame your partner for not getting the tree cut down. Superstitious, religious and spiritual people may attribute such events to a higher power, which is either testing their faith or punishing them for their weaknesses. But, I think we all need to accept that we don’t know what the future brings and that we just have to learn to live in the moment and take things as they come from a rational and moral place of inner safety and security.
Blaming yourself when something goes wrong is related to that internal relationship we have with ourselves, the belief that we are dysfunctional, inept, foolish, or irresponsible. Having those beliefs might also make you attribute your successes to external factors, such as fate, chance or luck, instead of ourselves. As deep within you your belief is set on being not being good enough, rotten, inadequate, lacking intelligence or just a total failure in life. But, on the other side of the blame scale those other people seem to find it easy to excuse themselves for the same negative behaviour that they blame others for doing. Neither of these extremes are the best way to feel or live, it’s all about balance, if we can’t own our own mistakes, this can impact our morality. As a society being an honest and moral person is a key behaviour, essential in creating a good society and environment to live in. If we take to much blame on, how can those other people who blame us learn to find their true moral compass? Well I don’t think we do, if we are a blamer we will just continue behaving in this way and if we are a self-blamer we are just enabling them in that bad behaviour. This will of course not help the self-blamer either as they can get trapped in this cycle of fear, even terror, self-blame and over responsibility for thing in the past, present and future, keeping them trapped in this cycle, with low self-esteem and the deep fear of who they are.
I think the issues of self-blame can get tied up with the issues of immoral behaviour and where that line is drawn in our head. Think about this scenario there are three boys playing with stones, one boy just thinks about throwing it at the window, another throws it and misses and the last one throws and hits who is to blame? In law, even the boy whose stone missed would be at fault at some level, as well as the one who broke the window as they both had the same malicious intent. So, does that mean thinking about something has that same moral issue? I think we can think many things but that doesn’t make us bad, it is the action that is like the line that we cross that does that. We all think weird and wonderful things in our sleep and even in some of our saying show this, like, flogging a dead horse and shooting the messenger, of course we’re not going to actually do any of those things. What we need to do is develop that inner trust, safety and security within us, accepting that our minds can think and dream all sorts of stuff but the line is action. What we need to do is feel strong and secure in being the best version of ourselves, also being rational and moral is our actions.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the blame game, as being transparent and authentic is a challenge for us all. Blame is an excellent defence mechanism, you can call it lots of things from, denial, projection or displacement, blame helps you preserve your sense of self-esteem by avoiding awareness of your own flaws. We can also use blame as an attack, using it as a weapon for destructive relationship conflicts, this can be a way of hurting the people we love. For some of us we’re not good at figuring out other people’s behaviours or in fact even our own. This can mean we can make judgements and apportion blame from a distorted place, as we haven’t seen the situation as clearly as we could. Another blame game behaviour is that we can feel there’s less effort involved in recognising your contributions to a bad situation, than in accepting the fact that you’re actually at fault, and changing so you don’t do it again. I am sure we have all done this it at one time or another, as it can be easier to blame someone else than to accept responsibility. We see this a lot with children and is another part of this blame game we play. As children grow, we learn that this is not always the best way to behave, as we get caught out with the lies and over time people don’t trust us. This is something we have to learn as children, working through these feelings and behaviours, hopefully for all of us we find our own true moral compass. Even as adults we must all know of times we have lied or covered something up. Even its just as simple as who eat the last biscuit or spilt the drink on the floor, in these situations we just hoping that we won’t get found out. But none of the blame games work, they in fact they just hinder our ability to grow and evolve as people.
Most games are based on the fact that the more we play, the more we win but with the blame game this is the exact opposite, because each time we lose an opportunity to grow from our experiences. Like the great scientist Thomas Watson said, “if you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate”. Of course, there’s no point finding the girl at school who we used to get in trouble, by blaming them for talking in class instead of us, but it is time going forward to change how you deal with things. It’s time to grow as a person and own up to our role in a bad situation, it will help us grow from the experience and hopefully not make the same mistake again. Also, you can really find your own moral compass, making your connections with people more solid and trustworthy. Over time you will feel happier within yourself, your relationships will feel more secure and fulfilling, plus you will feel in a more solid place within yourself and advancing the journey of understanding who you truly are.
Thanks for dropping by Sara x