Fresh Living

Among my many inner selves, I am home to a little dominatrix she-devil with a small, sharp whip. Lets call her the Blame-inatrix. She’s often surprisingly subtle, sometimes coming out as a feeling I manage to contain, or in comments or gestures most people don’t detect. Other times, though, I don’t even see Blamey until she’s cracked the whip right across a loved one’s psychic skin, making everyone feel uck.

It’s some seriously toxic stuff, blame. And even if my victim isn’t noticing consciously, these digs and micro-blames have a negative cumulative effect on my relationships with others and myself, being in such stark opposition to my aims to be a kind, productive, contributing, loving human.

So lately I do my best to simply notice when I have the urge to say something motivated by the mean whip woman. Then I ask: “Hey lady, what’s that about?” 900 times of out 10 I’ve empowered her with some anger and then beneath that, inevitably, insecurity, vulnerability, and hurt. I’ve been thinking about this lately a lot and was once again soothed and blown away by Pema Chodron, when I came across this quote from her today, which says all of this so succinctly and perfectly:

“We habitually erect a barrier called blame that keeps us from communicating genuinely with others, and we fortify it with our concepts of who’s right and who’s wrong. We do that with the people who are closest to us and we do it with political systems, with all kinds of things that we don’t like about our associates or our society. It is a very common, ancient, well-perfected device for trying to feel better. Blame others. Blaming is a way to protect your heart, trying to protect what is soft and open and tender in yourself. Rather than own that pain, we scramble to find some comfortable ground.” – In the Gap Between Right and Wrong


How do you grapple with blame?


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