photo courtesy of robert van der Steeg
I know it’s not like me to show up here on a Saturday…but things are changing around here.
I had a situation with someone a couple of weeks ago that ended up being very disappointing in spite of my doing everything “right”. It left me wondering if there was something I could have done differently to change what happened.
I noticed that each time I thought about the situation I started to tell myself a painful story–a story where there was some deficiency in me that caused things to go the way they did even though I know intellectually that what I did was great; I could not have done any better with this person.
Every day that week when I thought about this person, I started to look harder to find the thing I hadn’t done that I should have which would have prevented things from going the way they did. I had to keep reminding myself that it was not my fault.
I wanted to stop being reflexively unkind to myself, I wanted to do it differently this time.
It is said that one of the definitions of blame is to discharge pain.
Now I get it.
We blame ourselves for things that aren’t our fault because it gives us the illusion of control. We get to feel that we had some choice, ” If I had done something differently, things would be different.”
There Always Has To Be Action
Blame gives the mind something to do: running the scene over and over again imagining doing it differently this time is much easier to tolerate than sitting with the discomfort that comes from knowing, even if I show up and do everything right, I still have no control over the outcome of things.
Which leads me to think, is living with the awareness that even when we do everything right we still have no control over the outcome so uncomfortable that we’d choose to blame ourselves instead for things that aren’t our fault?
Wow. I guess the answer is unfortunately very often yes.
I wonder if there are places where you’re taking responsibility for something you really have no control over.
I wonder if you, if we, could all relax a little and embrace the idea that just because something isn’t known, it doesn’t mean it’s bad or scary.
Just because we can’t be assured that our actions will lead to a certain outcome, doesn’t mean that we’re powerless.
Sometimes not knowing and not being sure opens up the space for something bigger, something better to occur.
Wishing you kindness for yourself around all that you’re doing that’s not turning out the way you want.
May you relinquish responsibility and blame for all that you’re not responsible for.
All you can do is show up and be present.
The rest is out of your hands.