How Can You Catch Yourself Before You Throw Blame Onto Someone?

  • What is happening internally when you notice yourself wanting to blame another?

The Blame Game: We Both Lose

When we think other people or circumstances are making us do or feel something, we lose ourselves. We lose our inner power, we give up our freedom, and we forget the greater reality.

Spiritual accountability is about stopping the Ferris wheel, and making conscious – rather than reactive -choices.  If we are reactive, we become victims and dependent upon others for our happiness.  However, there is another choice – use the challenges of everyday life as springboards to greater spiritual strength and growth.

Taking accountability for our consciousness and feelings is so painstakingly tricky because it seems so natural that if we are angry or hurt, somebody else is responsible for our feelings.  Taking back ownership of our emotions requires us to be fully conscious and willing to let go of the seducing trance of blame.   

Ultimately, we are accountable for what we do with our feelings.  We are accountable for every moment. This is the true spiritual path, and the path to inner peace.

After many years of marriage, my wife, Sioux, and I had a strong and wonderful relationship. However, we realized that even though we practiced active listening and apologized for our mistakes, one of us would ultimately end up feeling blamed for the argument. We started to notice the pattern — its insidiousness and uselessness.

So I bought a ring and shoved it in my pocket. The next time we were alone on a date, I dropped down on one knee and proposed a renewed, blame-free marriage. Sioux whole-heartedly accepted.

It took two or three years before we weaned ourselves off the subtle tendency to blame. We began to rightly place accountability back onto ourselves. “Yes I’m angry, but I’m responsible for calming myself down.” “Yes I’m hurt, and though your actions brought on my feelings, I’m responsible for sharing my feelings without blame.”

We realized that we had previously — though unconsciously —expected the other person to alleviate our own upset feelings by taking the blame. If the other person didn’t flat-out own responsibility for the cause of our emotions, then we couldn’t ultimately calm ourselves and feel clear. We were imprisoned by the other person’s (in)ability to take responsibility for our feelings; all the while holding the key in our own hands.

By owning our own experience and feelings, we not only helped the other person, we took back our own power. Responsibility = Power. Accountability = Freedom. Though it was difficult to unlearn a lifetime of behavior, it was incredibly liberating.

How Can You Catch Yourself Before You Throw Blame Onto Someone?

  • What is happening internally when you notice yourself wanting to blame another?

Post your comments below:

About Dan

Dan Messinger is the author of Holy Crap, a multimedia collection of spiritual tools that help you create meaning from everyday hassles.
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5 Responses to How Can You Catch Yourself Before You Throw Blame Onto Someone?

  1. On the path says:

    Great question. When I reflect back, I know that I have a sense of upset before I blame another. Usually, it’s some fear or defensiveness that I’m going to be held accountable in some way that I don’t think is fair. As I think about it now, it’s almost as if the blame is a way of fending off blame thrown on me. Other times, I blame because I’m hurt inside. Boy, it would be just so much easier if I say, “Heh, that kind of hurt my feelings”. I’m going to try and take a peek at myself more – and try to notice when I’m having that “pre-blame” upset. I would like to check in with myself and ask myself 1) are you hurt by something and 2) are you worried that you will be blamed or misjudged? Thanks, Dan, for asking this question!

  2. Judy says:

    When I notice that I want to blame another, my first reaction is guilt. My next however is anger. Hey, wait a minute, this isn’t just me, you played a role in this too. If you hadn’t done x, I wouldn’t have reacted by doing z. I am now more aware of how harmful and ineffective such a response is. It only causes bad feelings and escalates conflict. Let’s just take a moment, sit down, air out our feelings in a non-blameful way and really listen to each other.

  3. Davy Davidson says:

    I love this question. It seems central to individual and world peace. “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” The way I have found to avoid blame is through equanimity. It is the quality of spaciousness that emerges from meditation. In this frame of mind I slow down, notice what rises, and can be with it without judgement. There is no self blame and I don’t project it on the other. The felt wisdom in my body leads me to embrace life-forwarding, nourishing values. Noticing my own inner state, being able to name it and be with it is the single greatest skill for opening to compassion for self and others. Wouldn’t it be lovely if it was a cultural value?

  4. Bear says:

    First, when you’re feeling hot and angry, stop, just… stop.
    Notice your feelings. Try to manage them in peace and it’s resolved.
    Manage your feelings by eather siting down, or, try to ask your partner, [aka] friend, to listen to your beautiful feelings, and hopefully your partner, [aka] friend ,will understand your predicament.

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