How did we get to this place? The place where the first response to anything we don’t like is to find someone or something to blame? Our complete abdication of any form of responsibility makes me sick to the stomach.
The co-valent pair of blame is victim-hood. The moment I blame anyone or anything I immediately reduce myself to becoming a victim. One does not go without the other. (And yes, let me be clear there are very legitimate victims in the world. People who have suffered terrible transgressions because of other people’s greed and stupidity. I am not talking about those people in this article. Interestingly, many of these people do not behave like ‘victims’. They often don’t live in blame.) I am talking about the guy who gets his jaw broken in a drunken bar room brawl and wants to put all the blame on the guy who drunkenly hit him. I guess he could have been standing off to the side in complete innocence, minding his own business and some random guy came up and hit him. That might have happened. But it probably didn’t. I would guess that he was doing some form of provoking. Is he willing to take any measure of responsibility? Or is it all about blaming the other guy? And getting the pay-out? Will money ease his pain? Or is it vengeance he is after? When has vengeance ever healed someone of anything? Oh, I forgot, we have had thousands of years of observing how vengeance begets vengeance and still we think it is a strategy that works. Ahh.well….no…it might ‘feel’ sweet, for a moment of time, but the scorpions tail of vengeance has a vicious bite and the poison lasts a lifetime, or more.
Or the person who dives into a shallow canal and becomes paralysed. Blame goes to the land owner for not having a sign up saying “shallow water” Tragic accident, but really, do we have to have signs everywhere to protect ourselves from being sued? Apparently so.
How about the fool who dived into the water in the first place taking responsibility for doing so? No, he had nothing to do with it it. So we now spend millions on protection and insurance. And the circle goes around. And around. The lawyers win big time by being paid. But everyone loses when we add all the costs together. Our communities, our well-being, our bank accounts…all suffer.
Please don’t complain about rising insurance premiums if you also think it is OK for people to sue for tripping on a pavement and breaking a bone.
We are all in the blame game. Playing small or large. The moment I participate in any form of blame I reduce myself to a victim. In doing so I become disempowered. Sometimes this is a very subtle game.
Let me share a personal example. The “I don’t know what to do?” question. This is a form of the victim/blame game. I want to abdicate my responsibility to someone else so I don’t have to make a decision. (Or I want to abdicate my responsibility to no decision at all, which is equally as disempowering, and often I end up blaming me.) By doing this, I am off the hook, and if all goes pear shaped, I have someone else to blame. We all do this all the time. We abdicate our choices to ‘experts’, and people that we deem have more authority than we do. And then when our ‘experts’ fail to deliver, we go right into blame and complain. And we want vengeance? For what? For not having the backbone to make a choice? Or to be responsible for the choices we have made?
How did we get this way? How did we become so addicted to victim-hood? Please show me a single victim of this nature who is also happy, and in their own power? It is not a happy, empowered place to be.
How did we get to a place where abdicating any form of responsibility is normal operations?
Part of the answer to this question is that it is designed into our operating system. We have limited liability companies as the backbone of our industry. Have we stopped to ask, why limit liability? A corporation has the rights of a human without any of the responsibilities. (Indeed I am asking if humans have many responsibilities these days? Our blame epidemic is so out of control.) If you are serious about standing to full account, about being sovereign of your own choices, then you are also willing to take responsibility. This means that by inviting the very energetics of limited liability into your work you are colluding with the very system you might be trying to transcend.
Part of the answer is that we don’t want to take responsibility. This is the realm of the healthy adult. We want to stay in our child and be ‘cared for’ by the government, or the system, or the…? We want to stay helpless and small. We fear our own power. And we like to throw tantrums and demand this and that because we ‘deserve’ it. I ask please that you remove the word deserve from your vocabulary right now. It marries with entitlement, which is an epidemic of our society. I am entitled to…I deserve it? And the other person doesn’t? A more subtle form of vengeance.
It is far easier to point the finger than to look in the mirror. Not much heavy lifting to be done to point the finger. There is a high price, apart from rising insurance premiums. The price is our own vitality, happiness, self-esteem, sovereignty. Looking in the mirror and owning our responsibility is hard. And brave. And it is the only place I know where true freedom lives.
I am responsible for my choices. And yes, I get to choose. Accidents do happen. People make real mistakes. Bad things happen to good and bad people. Always, always, I have a choice in how I respond. No one or no thing can take away that choice as long as I am breathing air on my own. I am sovereign to my choices, to my responses to what life deals me. This is true freedom.
And why do people get away with blame and victim-hood in our lives? Because we let them. Because we say that is OK? Funny that, responsibility starts with the man in the mirror. Hmm…that would be me. And you.
2:23AM Integrity is the Essence
Relevant. Provocative. At the frontier of human enterprise for a better world. Join us. Subscriber only articles and special offers. Plus FREE Personal Integrity Inventory.