The problem with blame

Blame is one of your mind’s most seductive ploys. Understanding blame can break the hold it has on your life – the hold you might not even be aware of.

Why do we blame our past for the present?

Earlier in my life, I did what many teenagers do – squandered my education in favour of easier options. As time passed, I realised my mistake. 

During puberty, your brain undergoes rewiring as it prunes off pathways and reinforces others. This opportunity for a significant head-start to adulthood passed me by. The only pathways that weren’t atrophied were playing Call of Duty.

Only, it wasn’t my mistake. My teachers should have tried harder, and school should have been more enjoyable. It’s not my fault – I had a phone and TV distracting me. The blaming made me feel better, and it minimised my pain.

We use blame to lessen our mental pain and anguish.

It’s what came next that shook me. After realising the importance of developing the brain and blaming everyone around me for missing the crucial period during puberty, I went and… Didn’t make a single change for the next three years.

That’s when I understood the price of blame. I used blame to escape the pain of regret. The price I paid was progress.

Pain or progress.

For years, I chose to eliminate the pain of regret at all costs – even progress. When it came time to change my ways, I found it tough. So instead, I went back to my old friend – blame.

“It’s too late; what’s the point in working hard now? I’ve missed the boat.”

“It’s too hard now. I’m disadvantaged, and the outcome isn’t worth all the effort.”

“I didn’t try when I should have. Why try now?”

Afterwards, I felt better. I wasn’t as guilty anymore. Blame did what it does best – lessening the pain.

In time I saw through the façade, and it hurt. All the pain of regret was drowning me. But soon, the tide went out just as it came in. After a few days, the pain lessened as I replaced regret with progress. Within weeks, I no longer felt the pain. I replaced it with gratitude for learning this lesson early in my life. 

When we blame, we relinquish our power to take action and make constructive change. Blame shifts the pain at the cost of forfeiting our power.

When we blame, we shift our internal pain to external objects – people, events, timing. What we forget is that with our pain comes our power.

Blame might dull the pain, but we pay the price of being a victim. It’s no longer our fault; It’s everyone or everything else’s fault. It’s no longer our problem to fix; it is everyone or everything else’s.

Another solution to the blame

What happens when we face the pain without blame?

When I took responsibility for my wasted learning, inaction became action. When I experienced the pain of regret without deflecting it with blame, it compelled me never to waste another day.

It’s hard to accept the blame. It hurts. But, in time, it’s replaced by gratitude. 

The longer you put off pain with blame, the harder it is to break the chain. Remember, right now is always the easiest and the best time to make a change. The longer you leave it, the harder it is to begin. You can start tomorrow, but it will always hurt more than it does today. 

When we accept the pain without blame, we retain the power to do something about it. Never give this power away. Especially not to blame.

Why do people blame their present on the past?

Because It isn’t as painful. At least, not right now.

Published in Philosophy, Psychology, Self Improvement
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