Blame is great. Who doesn't love that gloriously righteous glow, right? And good old blame is all the more satisfying because it's justifiable. Blame takes all our pain and all our anger and makes us feel better. So is it really such a problem?
First: blame is a natural human response
Someone hurts us, threatens the people we love, takes away something that we value; it's downright nasty. It's also really painful.
And this is the interesting bit. Coz us humans respond to emotional pain in one of 3 ways
So just like depression and disco fever, blame is a trusted human strategy to avoid feeling emotional pain. And the great thing about blame is that it's not picky; it's happy to be directed anywhere, including inwards.
Second: blame is a huge distraction
True story. Blame makes doing nothing feel like doing a whole load of stuff. Cool, eh! Especially when we've been left feeling powerless and vulnerable. It stokes the fire in our bellies and makes us feel like we're invincible and busy busy busy. Trouble is, all the time we're caught up in the blame game, we're never doing anything about our underlying emotional pain. Figures why some blame can last a whole lifetime.
Third: blame is contagious
There's no question that political, social and economic uncertainty causes great emotional distress. We feel disposable, unrepresented and pretty irrelevant. Faced with this unbearable pain, our strategies of numb out, seek pleasure and blame kick into action. Out of the three, blame makes us feel the most powerful, no wonder we all run to it.
And what happens when the cause of our pain comes filtered through political agendas and divisive rhetoric? Because blame doesn't care about destination; it just wants to make us feel better. The biggest danger to our survival as a species lies in where we point our blame finger.
Forth: blame is always about pain
And this is where blame is really sneaky because it doesn't feel like pain, it feels like a solution. Add a national crisis or two and real solutions are pretty darn thin on the ground. Gotta blame more, hate more, everything is way more intense because the real cause has been so removed from the presented solution that we can't figure out which way up we are let alone why we still hurt so bad. And if we start believing that blaming someone because they're different will fix our pain, well then line up the whole human race and pull the damn trigger. Coz ain't none of us the same. And the sad thing is, that in all our personal, national and cultural blaming, what we're really saying is: 'I just don't want to feel like this anymore.'
Blame is an emotional fix that thinks it's a cure. It's like going to hospital with a stab wound and being written a prescription for who to blame for the pain. We just be bleeding to death.
So, what to do?
Become a passive doormat. KIDDING. Blame is a mighty fine high horse. Stepping down isn't easy. It screams counter intuitive, especially when someone hurts us. Not blaming them feels like they get away with it. But letting go of blame isn't about doing nothing, it's about seeing what needs to happen in order to move forward.
Honestly, blame likes to shout its mouth off but it's totally useless at creative problem-solving.
The REALLY important thing to remember is that letting go of blame starts at home. How can we expect a nation to move forward after the brutalities of war if we can't move forward after someone cuts us up on the motorway?
The good news is that blame is just a habit and all habits can be broken. No need to go cold turkey with all this. We've been successfully blaming for most our lives. Start small, start where you are. When you catch yourself mid blame, stop, smile, congratulate yourself for noticing. Maybe have a tentative look at what's really hurting here. Most times there is a fear under the pain. Watching the news is like going to the friggin' gym.