Do we know what it’s like to take responsibility for our actions? Do we own up to our mistakes or do we find a scapegoat? Is blame our release valve when the pressure builds up?
Whether it is business, dealing with the in—laws, or your love life, at some point we are faced with that tight—lipped monster, blame.
Sometimes it is good to name a problem and find its source. Acknowledging what’s happened is the first step to healing and making things right. Denial won’t get anyone anywhere. But more often than not blame is not healthy. After all, we aren’t in relationships to blame people, but to love them.
Many years ago, I was in a beautiful relationship. One day I jokingly said to my partner, “The only reason you want to be in this relationship with me is so you can have someone to blame.” But the thing is, deep down, I wasn’t joking. I meant it. I had grown weary of the accusing finger, the slanted eyes and the shifting of responsibility. Where was the grace? Where was the love? The blame game had rubbed off on me. I was beginning to blame others as well.
Constructive, loving criticism can be healthy and necessary. It can be healing. But the last thing anyone wants in his or her face is blame. It isn’t helpful. It only makes us want to lash out, play defensive, build walls. When we feel exposed, assaulted, or attacked, we want to insulate. Hedges are built and shelters erected. We defend, screen and guard ourselves, rather than open up and come clean. Blame only confuses and hurts.
Lately I’ve been wondering if while it is important for us to hold one another accountable, to be responsible for our actions, it is rarely a good idea to condemn someone. It’s only an idea, but maybe a helpful one. The years teach us that we should be slow to accuse others and hesitant to point the finger at someone. It’s only too easy to incriminate others, make them feel guilty, to assign fault, or to be downright nasty.
How much more beautiful is it to absolve, love, forgive and forget? It’s never too late to strive for loving others better, faults and all. With our children, our spouses, our sweethearts and our clients—people are just that, people. We make mistakes. We’ll really screw up sometimes. But, that’s why we need forgiveness and honesty. Not blame. Everyone loses the blame game.
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Assistant Ed: Karla Rodas/Ed: Kate Bartolotta