When we blame, we put pandemonium back into the pandemic.
It is your fault!
How many times have we heard this phrase? How many times have WE used it?
Most of us have been brought up with the mentality to shift blame onto someone or something. Remember when you spilt milk on the floor and your mother came back and asked: Who did this? The spontaneous response was: It wasn’t me! And that obviously implied that it was someone else`s fault. And then we learned to deny our responsibility by putting the blame on anything outside of us.
Why do we blame others?
Here are some reasons why this is such a pervasive defence mechanism:
- Self-protection– when we exonerate ourselves from something, we feel safe. Owning up to mistakes can expose our vulnerability and that does not feel safe, so we shift negative focus from ourselves to other people or situations. It temporarily saves us from the feelings of guilt, shame and responsibility
- Sense of control – when our anger is triggered, and we say mean things to the person we have in front of us, we tend to blame them for causing us to say such things – so it implies that we did not lose control, the other person made us do what we did. The reality is that you felt powerless in the heat of the moment and lost it. The other person only served as a trigger, but the anger that was triggered is inside you
- Masks our fragility – we are afraid to expose our humanness and weakness, so we blame others to show that we are strong – to boost our ego in order to validate the fact that we are right. There is a scared child inside us that needs to protect itself
- Excusing one`s actions – when we blame, we justify the choices we make. For instance, when we hurt another person, we show that we did it not out of our choice, but the other person made us hurt them. Here, let`s look at abusers. Often, they blame those they abuse for being or behaving in certain ways that provoke them. A sexual abuser once told me that he abused a girl because she was dressed inappropriately and therefore he could not help it
- To attack another person – this could be unconscious, a deeply rooted style we have developed that we may not even be aware of. I was counselling a young man who was caught in robbery with violence. He told me that he decided to attack the rich because it was not justified that the rich have more than they need yet he was struggling to get by. He said he did not like the rich man in the first place, and attacking him was the right thing to do
- It removes inhibitions – when we blame, we remove our brain`s natural inhibitions that are there to prevent us from hurting other people. We build a thought pattern that allows us to act in a way that our moral compass would not allow us. For instance, when I was living in Nairobi, a neighbor used to make life difficult for everyone and was often provocative. One evening, the other neighbors decided to get together to confront him because no amount of talking diplomatically yielded any fruits. They surrounded him in the courtyard, and he got even more verbally nasty. Neighbors that were otherwise well respected, diplomatic, high level people started yelling at him and a couple hurled blows at the man. Everyone blamed this particular neighbor for “causing” these respectable people to act they way they did
- It`s a learned habit – For some, this has developed into an ingrained habit and they may not even be aware of it. This is very risky because it implies that the person is powerless and helpless, being propelled by a power greater than themselves.
Blaming is a dangerous game because it prevents us from looking at ourselves genuinely and addressing our own issues. When we blame, we put pandemonium back into the pandemic. It stifles our growth, and camouflages who we really are.
How do we stop blaming?
- Recognize and accept every time you shift blame
- We all make mistakes, and it is not what happens to us that determines who we are, but how we respond to it, because this is where our power lies
- Take a deep breath – reflect before you blame someone else or act in a defensive way
- View the situation as an opportunity for learning and growth
- Keep things in perspective – sometimes we blow things out of proportion, making mountains out of molehills. Take responsibility, and move on. Sweeping things under the carpet has the opposite effect. Own up, life is larger than that small experience
- Shift from Victim to Conqueror – you are powerful beyond measure, your playing small does not serve you or the world. Do not allow yourself to play victim for anyone or any situation
- Change beliefs – most of us have learned from our childhood that you have to appear perfect, and blaming helps you save your face. We need to dispute these limiting beliefs and see ourselves for what we really are – human as well as divine
- Remember that you are the only thinker in your own head – you can decide where to focus your thoughts. What we pay attention to grows and expands
- Look at the reasons why you blame. Are you afraid, angry, jealous, anxious? Once you recognize this, then name it, tame it, and claim it. Work on developing your sense of self-worth. You do not need to be anything to anyone. You are YOU. Period
- Know what you can control and what you cannot. This helps you choose your battles
- Invest your energy elsewhere – blaming drains our energy and leaves us feeling awful. Decide to put that energy into something more constructive.
Remember, you do not need to prove anything to anyone. You are unique, and do not be tempted to conform, break the chains that imprison you, and you will be amazed at how wonderful opportunities will present themselves for you. Be compassionate with yourself, and allow yourself to be YOU!
When we change the way we look at things,
the things we look at change (Wayne Dyer).