Not taking responsibility for yourself, your emotions, your feelings and your actions is a sure way to ensure that you suffer your whole life.
As blame goes, I am something of an expert. Blaming was something I learned as a child to survive in toxic and harsh environments. I learnt that it is better to be feared than loved and never to take responsibility; instead− blame!
I blamed my parents and other abusive carers for so many problems in my life. I blamed everything and everyone. Blame had become such a habit for me that it was invisible, even though I would dedicate hours of my time to perfecting it. For example, if someone pointed out to me some of my inconsiderate or hurtful behaviour, I would fly into an internal rage. How dare they! Then I would start a period of compulsive “creative” reflection and rehashing; going round and round until I had managed to make me “right” and the other person “wrong”. This process would last for days or even weeks. Unwittingly, I was making myself into a victim. Condemning myself to remain stuck, perpetuating my unhappiness.
My experience of blaming is that it is very energy-consuming − tiring in fact. It made me feel bad most of the time. It stopped me from growing as a person. It was boring/toxic for anyone close to me, and led me into depression.
Having said that, blaming was etched so deeply into my perception of the world and my life, it was a way of being that that I didn’t know I had.
Blaming is a dark, angry, toxic and lonely place.
Changing this way of being was not easy and although I have largely freed myself of the automatic aspects of it, the potential to fall back into blaming remains.
There are many aspects of our lives over which we have no control. A clear example of this is the current COVID 19 pandemic. In fact, when we take a hard look at our lives we realise that any control is more or less limited to ourselves; the only thing that we can really change is ourselves. Even that is limited and not easy. If we understand this, we can forget the blame and focus on the “how” − how to make things better
For some people, blaming is everything. But then, what is left? Can anything be solved with that? Forget the blame and focus on what works, on what you can fix and changing whatever is necessary to improve and make things right.
For example, when things go wrong (as they inevitably will at some time), instead of responding with blaming yet powerless comments like, “Just my luck, what I needed!” or “It’s too hard, it’s hopeless, I’ll never solve this”, we might think something like, “I’ll go for a walk; I’ll feel better afterwards”, or “I’m going to meditate for a bit, clear my mind and look at it again with fresh eyes”.
If something does not work, it’s easy to be “creative” and find some reason to blame someone else. This for me was my autopilot setting − blame. Mindfulness and meditation helped to watch with open curiosity, kindness and later a sense of humour. This enabled me to relax and observe and later let go of my need to cast blame at the first sign of a problem. I learnt to live with the temporary uncertainty of not knowing. This gave me a broader perspective on things. Finding someone to blame solves nothing.
We need accurate feedback if we are to grow and change. Blaming is the opposite of that. Being objective when it comes to acknowledging a mistake is how we improve and develop.
On the bright side, taking responsibility for when things go wrong also allows you to take responsibility when things go right.
In the end, it comes down to the old question: What is more important to you, to be right or to be happy? So many times in life we go for being right, without realising that we are shooting ourselves in the foot at the same time.
Love peace and happiness to you.