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The Blame Reflex

We can feel safe in pretending that our distress is not evidence of inadequacy in ourselves, but of one in someone else.

@gauravb

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We have a tendency to find some part of our environment to scold — a person or thing — whenever we run into some kind of problem in our lives.

We search for a source to our suffering and we tend to settle on people as the source of the misery because we know that people are capable of being responsible for what they’ve done.

Blame is a defense mechanism. What we’re defending ourselves from is our own responsibility for dealing with the unpleasant experience we’ve been given.

The benefit in blame is that it allows us to avoid feeling like we’re failing ourselves, that we lack the strength and maturity to come to terms with the reality of unfairness or bad luck.

Assigning responsibility to others is sometimes possible, but blame itself doesn’t need to be a part of it:

  • When we blame, most often we are attempting to delegate responsibility to somebody who isn’t willing to accept it.
  • Pinpointing one single person as the ultimate cause of a particular problem is a little nearsighted. Causes and effects are never conveniently cut and dried.

Blame is not responsibility. It is the absurd act rejecting the reality we’ve been given and charging an unwilling and perhaps unwitting party with improving it, even if that party is an inanimate object sometimes.

And blaming is not useful.

It is taking responsibility for what happens to us, regardless of who we might think caused it. 

When blame enters the picture, we start rejecting reality itself, which is the very definition of suffering.

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