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Wherever you find a problem, you will usually find the finger-pointing of blame. Society is addicted to playing the victim.”   -Stephen R. Covey-

 “Any time we point the finger at someone, we get three fingers pointing back at us.”  my sister-in-law, Louise, once told me.  It’s quite a clever observation, really.  Feeling blamed puts us in defense mode.  If someone accuses us of something, chances are that we will be hurt.  And we lash out—saying hurtful things in return.  Hence, the three fingers.  Being a preachy type of person, I’ve played the blame game and hurt people along the way.   And got some insightful information when the person I pointed the finger at pointed theirs back at me.   I remember that I often made comments on the types of vehicles people would drive, judging the gas guzzling ones.  One day, a vegetarian SUV-driving colleague remarked that the carbon emitted by her vehicle was twenty times less harmful than the methane produced by the cows on my farm!  Ouch!  I was proud of our organic farm.  I justified my position by saying that our practice was sustainable.  The cows were well-treated, grass-fed and their meat sold locally.  But she got me to thinking that I judge others way too quickly.  And that by playing the blame game, it mostly serves to reinforce our feelings of defensiveness.  It separates us instead of bringing us together.

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I think that each one of us needs to examine our lifestyle and decide how we can have less of an impact on the Earth.  It’s important to share our accomplishments—it will motivate others to achieve theirs.  Instead of blaming people, we need to be loving and encouraging with them.  And with ourselves as well.  Positive reinforcement is much more powerful than shaming. 

If we need something to blame, let it be our egos!

My marriage has taught me a lot about the futility of blaming others.  Unfortunately, my parents excelled at the blame game.  And I unconsciously repeated their pattern with my husband for many years.  I thank my lucky stars that he is such a patient person and that he didn’t give up on me.  If we need something to blame, let it be our egos!  I realize now that the ego uses blame as a lever to prop itself up, wanting to put down our “adversary”.  Such folly!  I’ve experienced this on a personal level, but I realize that this is what leads to war on a greater scale.  Me versus you is the same as us against them.

Our willingness, even eagerness to blame probably stems from our feelings of unworthiness.  If, and when our ego needs to prop itself up, it figures that this urge comes from our insecurities.  Nobody’s perfect.  We all have tons of stuff that we can improve on.  If we were able to transcend the ego and our need for being right, it would be easier for us to see our damaging behaviors more clearly and adjust them accordingly.  We would be open to seeing the situation from another standpoint.  These days, society seems to be entrenched in polarized points of view, the left blaming the right, the right blaming the left.  Each side thinking that others are responsible for various predicaments we find ourselves in.  Our ego identifies with a certain mindset and this can be reinforced by social media which caters to our way of thinking.  And I am very concerned about where this is leading humanity.

We all share blame in most situations and the state of our planet is no exception. 

I’ve noticed that when talking about the environment, people’s opinions often revolve around blame.  Blame for the government, the multinationals, the lobbyists, the wealthy, and so on.  Identifying them as the culprits responsible for the state we are in.  In pointing the finger outward, it releases us from accountability.  It releases us from the need to change.  We don’t like change.  We don’t like to admit to our materialistic tendencies and our addictive need to consume.  Our ego likes to perceive itself as righteous, we cannot be guilty of degrading the planet to such an extent!  Yes, the establishments mentioned above are responsible for our situation, but so are we.  So are we.  Consequently, if there is blame, let it be shared.  And let’s all contribute to the solution.

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Dealing with the itch to blame

A good way to practice clarity around our resentments is to play out the blame game, but totally in our heads.  If I accuse this person of such and such a thing, if I point my finger at him or her, what would they say in return?  What would the accusations be from those three other fingers pointing back at me?  With practice and a good dose of empathy, you’ll find their comebacks pretty easily.  It’s not to be used as an avoidance strategy, mind you.  If you have a legitimate concern, go ahead and have that (real!) conversation with that person, avoiding anger and blame.  But playing it out in our heads can sometimes be a  great way to become more self-aware, more empathetic and to avoid needless hurt and confrontation.

It also helps to have one or more people with whom we can practise a type of loving candor.  Pointing out our shortcomings, being each others’ mirrors, in the gentlest way we can.  Helping the other to see where they might be stuck, or closed-minded.  Of course, this works best in a relationship that is based on positivity and encouragement.  We don’t always want to be focusing on our flaws.  We can only do this type of inner work by being loving and forgiving with ourselves and with others.  We need to see the whole picture—including the many things we are constantly doing right.

How could we achieve clarity and compassion on a larger scale?   How could we undo some of the damage that we’ve been doing to people, to the planet, to Life?   I’m unclear about the whole process, but I think that it starts with each one of us.  We need to practice clarity—owning up to our part in every situation, every day.  Let’s stop blaming each other.  It only serves the ego. 

 

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