Monday, July 13, 2009

The Backfire of Blame

As I observe and sometimes even personally experience situations that go awry, I often see blaming is a result. It seems to frequently be the human default to blame someone or something on whatever seems to have gone wrong.

In some of those situations, the circumstances may clearly be the fault of another and we feel completely justified in our complaining and blaming of whatever wrong has occurred.

Where blaming backfires, however, is we as the blamer, feel victimized, which never feels good. We may also tend to feel angry, and in the process be essentially robbed of joy. The time frame of this joyless blame related backfire may be over in minutes, or can last a life time.

For years I wondered how I could deal with those difficult situations differently. I wanted to be able to hold on to joy and to not feel victimized. It was my desire to not be affected emotionally by the mistakes of others....even if they directly affected me.

What I have learned to be the answer is rather than looking for someone to blame and to whom I could direct my anger, is to try to understand and to forgive. My understanding and forgiveness does not mean I don't care about the situation and am going to idly allow myself to be taken advantage of. It actually doesn't even have to change my actions. I'm referring to not being hooked emotionally by pointing my finger in complaint (with associated anger) at someone else but rather emembering that we all make mistakes and that the best solution is always to be responsible for ourselves. Another way of looking at this is I don't have to have someone behave the way I expect them to for me to be happy.

It is the seeing beyond the acts and choices of another person to what lies beneath that keeps me in peace. If I can soften my heart in the moment, remembering this person that has made a mistake was doing the best they could in that moment, I can actually think more clearly and stay better in tune to what is the wisest action.

The greatest payoff of not focusing on blaming is that my joy and peace stays intact. Giving away my peace, even if it would be apparently justified, is not worth the price.

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