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The Blame Game—Just Say No November 13, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Self-Development.
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scene of the crime 003 So here I am– good and ready to write the next installment of my musings about blame and how to get over it. Thank you to those of you who have emailed and spoken to me about the issue. It seems that there are very few of us who are immune to this lovely habit. I also learned quite a lot about blame and how others view it in the session that I recently had with a group of managers. I told my story which seemed to ignite their interest and we used it as a jumping off point for talking about blame and how to substitute something different. (Or was it that they just like to see their coach in the hot seat for a change?  Hmmmm)

If you read my last post you know that I was in quite a snit about my next door neighbors cutting down a beautiful old oak tree that was in the front of our houses. If you haven’t read it and you’d like to, here’s the link : Blame,Shame and Other Delights.  I was angry and immediately started blaming them for their actions. However, I am somewhat addicted to being happy—or at the very least feeling peaceful—and this agitated state was very disturbing to me. So I had a strong declaration that I needed to move into a different mood, pronto. Well, at least as pronto as I could. And I am happy to say that I have done that. But it took something to get there.

I did it—sort of

So how did I do it? Through superhuman and amazingly inspired action—well, not really SUPER human. But I dug through my spiritual tool kit and pulled out some super-duper tools to assist me. First I went to my favorite standby, Byron Katie. I have referred to her work in previous posts. Katie says that when you fail to accept what is, you make yourself miserable. Here’s a quote from a small blue book I received at one of her workshops.

I have simply stopped arguing with reality. How do I know the wind should blow? It’s blowing. How do I know this is the highest order? It’s happening. Arguing with WHAT IS is like teaching a cat to bark. Hopeless. I know that reality is good just as it is, because when I argue with it, I experience tension and frustration. It doesn’t feel natural or balanced. When I recognize this fact, action becomes clear, kind, fearless, simple, fluid and effortless.

So in my case, I stopped railing against the lost tree. How do I know the tree should be gone? It’s gone.

Took my own advice

In addition to applying Katie’s work, I also chose to see that for my neighbors the decision to cut down the tree made perfect sense. I found a quote from a letter I wrote about a year ago to one of my fortunate coaching clients.  Here’s the relevant part:

Everyone is reasonable; we just don’t always understand what the reason is. This works for me when I get caught up in my judgments about the seemingly incomprehensible behavior of another person. When you find yourself shaking your head about someone’s (or a group’s) stupidity, just assure yourself that the behavior makes perfect sense to them in their particular world. Having a sense of curiosity about what why it makes sense to them seems more productive to me that getting twisted about the fact that they don’t see the world as you do.

Great advice, if I do say so myself. I just had to start taking it, and I did.

Innocent as a baby

In addition there’s another way of thinking about people you want to blame. And that is to see them as completely innocent. They are doing what they did from a place of taking care of their lives—often a place of fear. To paraphrase A Course in Miracles, there are only two emotions, fear and love. When you are not seeing love, you are seeing fear. I began to see that my neighbors were fearful that the tree would fall on their house or their car, causing damage. When I focused on the fact that they were taking care of their fears, it became easier for me to let it go.

Before you pronounce me Mother Theresa 2, let me tell you that I still have my moments. I’m human. However, I am committed to being a better human each day.

Are you in?

—Amara

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Comments»

1. Karen Talavera - November 13, 2010

Great insights Amara, I’m so glad you pulled out your toolkit. This reminds me of much of what I wrote about on my blog a few weeks ago in An Alternative to Right and Wrong. Everyone’s just seeking to be in *alignment* with their highest needs, desires and goals. But since we’re not all aligning in the same direction for the same things, there are perceived conflicts. It certainly helps to suspend judgment and blame and try to see the bigger picture instead. When we do, it becomes easier to live and let live – and be happy in the process!

edgyangel - November 13, 2010

Yes, Karen, that bigger picture that we are often not privy to sometimes trips us up. I just know that when I’m in the blame space I feel awful and I hate feeling awful. Makes it simple.
thanks for pointing out the longer view….

2. Rose - November 13, 2010

I’m in!!!

I am presently working through “Purpose Driven Life” and am on day 23! I have read Katie’s book and I find myself asking the question: Is it true? to stay in a happy positive state. I am more peaceful today than I have been in years. Reading your blog is helpful and inspirational.

Thank you!

edgyangel - November 13, 2010

Rose–
Good for you that you are working through a program that helps you to keep growing. The question “is it true?” is a great equalizer since most of the stuff we choose to get upset about is of our own making.
Glad my blog posts help you on your journey and thanks for the nice feedback…


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