I caught myself doing something this week. Something so habitual and so familiar that I didn't even consciously think about it. I was in the autopilot state that most of us live in on a daily basis, when I, instantly and without thought, blamed another person when something went wrong.
Sound familiar...How many times have you auto piloted straight into blame territory when something went wrong? Like a billion times, huh?
Why do we do this? Why is it we opt toward blame the second things don't go our way?
It seems we've fallen into the horrible habit of blaming others
the moment our train starts to derail.
I know for me, blame is reactionary. When I feel threatened or hurt or any other kind of pain induced, seemingly, by another person, my first reaction is to blame them.
She did this. He did this. They did this. The SHEs, HEs and THEYs move front and center when I've got issue to take. Whether I'm right or wrong (and my guess is I'm mostly wrong), I tend to cast the first stone. And why? Because it's easy to do!
We've been blamers our whole lives. "Mommy! She took my crayon!" "Daddy! He hit me!" Children don't have the mental capacity to imagine they might be wrong. Even in situations when it's clearer than clear the child is at fault, they'll blame someone else. And so it goes, year after year, cementing our habit of blaming "them."
"One unable to dance blames the unevenness of the floor."
Taking responsibility for our actions, well, that's a lot harder. To be able to accept blame in our own drama requires a fairly sophisticated state of awareness. We're required to be more self-aware, more thoughtful, more reflective. A whole lotta 'more stuff' that's hard to be, especially in the heat of the moment.
There's been a few recent events in the world that have taken blame to an entirely new level. The accidental death of a toddler, stolen lakeside by an alligator, and the horrific massacre in Orlando. We blamed Muslims, blamed distracted parents, blamed Disney, blamed gays, blamed gun control, blamed just about everything under the sun.
It's almost as if we can't process tragedy to these insane degrees that our brains wire us to block logic out and blame someone, something, anything as a coping mechanism.
"Blame is just a lazy person's way
of making sense of chaos."
-- Peter Diamandis
Not sure if you saw this on Facebook, it's a post written by a mom exasperated by the level of blame people were putting on the parents of that toddler. If you have the time, read the whole thing, but in this excerpt she shares her frustration:
"You see, we now live in a time where accidents are not allowed happen. You heard me. Accidents, of any form, in any way, and at any time, well, they just don’t happen anymore. Why? Because BLAME and SHAME. Because we have become a nation of BLAMERS and SHAMERS...this country and its population of perfect pitchfork carrying mothers and fathers sitting behind keyboards needs to accuse. They NEED TO BLAME, to disparage, to criticize in every damn way and at every damn corner, the parenting of another."
"We blame society, but we are society."
It's heartbreaking really. That on top of such clearly devastating events, we pour salt into others' wounds. Is it not enough to feel a tragedy once? Shaming and Blaming just serve to further extend the depth of the pain.
It's time to stop. Stop looking for something outside and begin looking inside ourselves for more meaningful answers to the challenges in our lives.
Hopefully you agree. Now let's talk about how:
+ Look Inside - Seek to find your role in the situation first. Ask yourself, "What might have I done to get in this pickle?" or "What was my contribution to this situation?" Before your finger veers out pointing out at others, let it point in toward you. Exhaust yourself as the reason first.
+ Take a breath - Seriously, who reacts positively in the heat of the moment? NO ONE! Blame is a fast-shooting gun that we draw the moment we feel threatened. Take a breath. A slow, deep one and calm your sh*t down.
I won't elaborate on the whole emotional hijack that happens when you're stressed, suffice to say it shuts down your logical, thinking brain. You can't think straight when you're angry! Taking a breath allows the space for you to think more clearly about a situation and approach it a bit more rationally.
+ Put down the keyboard - I continue to be amazed (as in WTH?!!) when people blame others online. The ease of clicking reply on Facebook lends itself to reactionary replies and posts that are so volatile and hostile it's crazy (the bashing and blame throwing around politics alone is enough to make me want to quit FB). Are these things they'd say in person? I highly doubt it. Use kindness on the keyboard folks, at all times.
+ Seek a solution - Stop the witch hunt to find fault. Your time is much better spent finding a solution. It's productive, it's helpful, and it's much less vicious. Imagine a world where all our energy is spent seeking positive outcomes (hard to imagine, I know, but a girl can dream).
+ Stop with the "them" - There is no "they" or "them." We are all cut from the same cloth, the cloth of humanity. There isn't sides or teams or right or wrong. Not sure how we humans got so entrenched in ourselves that we've forgotten that one single layer of skin is all that separates us from the next person.
Watch this awesome video reinforcing this exact thought. We should be building bridges with one another, not throwing stones.
+ Share positivity - We can all use a bit more lightness in our lives. Make it your sole intention to spread positivity whenever possible. There's enough going wrong in the world without the rest of us adding to it. Above all else, speak and act in a way that adds something empowering, uplifting and positive to each moment.