It has never been a better time to talk seriously about the blame game and good will. As we approach the festive season and, in theory at least, a time of goodwill it seems that we are living in a divided world where everyone is finding reasons to blame other people for something. Globally we have all the issues of wars with Russia and the Ukraine and Israel and Palestine. In world where people seem to need to be looking for who it is that we can blame the only choice that we have is who will blame and for what will we blame then for?
The same thing happens in families. The easy targets are the ones you go for because they are easy to pick on. You can always find someone in the world, or in the family, that is behaving in ways you can disapprove of. The question for me, as a therapist is why do you need to have people to pick on? Often this is because we have unresolved inner issues that are easier to externalise onto other people rather than feel with the issue inside ourselves.
When you are the object of blame, when a person or section of society or family have singled you out for blame it does not matter what you do it will be picked on. If you say anything it will be interpreted as a problem and if you choose to say nothing you will be blamed for holding back.
These attitude make it so difficult to resolve problems. For the opposing side in a war to sit down and resolve a way forward is very difficult and often only possible with truly neutral mediation. The same is true between sections of a family and often in relationship issues/therapy where one or both sides are blaming each other. The biggest issue that I ever deal with is expectation. People see what they need to see and hear what they need to hear despite what is either said or done. Interpretation is everything.
The blame game is played to confirm what we are expecting to happen so that we can prove ourselves to be right. Expectation is very powerful. When we are proved right, or we believe that we are proved right, it makes us feel good and righteous.
Many years ago in the 1960’s, when smoking dope was the normal, I deliberately rolled a blind joint. There was a group of us, about eight as I recall, I rolled a big spliff using nine cigarette papers. However, there was no dope in it. It was only made of tobacco. I lit it took a toke and passed it on. It went from on person to the next and did several round of the group before it finally went out. Amazingly the group got stoned on a blind joint that had no grass it at all. This little experiment of mine was to discover to what extent people’s expectation would or could effect their experience. It made me realise that unless people are very aware/awake they just experience what they expect and in so ding prove themselves right.
I have done the same thing with wine. Pretending to drink vast amounts of what is actually alcohol free wine leads the censorious and judgemental around us to belief that we are drunk when we are not. I have also repeated the experiment in giving people alcohol free gin and tonic that taste just like the real thing and again people will experience it as though they have actually drunk alcohol.
Anyway, back to the theme of this blog. If any faction sees itself as different from others and preconceived ideas of the thoughts, feels and values of other groups they can start the blame to which there will never a resolution.
Whilst it would appear that blaming other people is normal human behaviour we can actually change this. Through awareness and wake-ness, in what these day is termed mindfulness, we can start to see the world from others people’s points of view and not assume that the way that we see things is the only and the right way, we may be wrong.
When we are honest with ourselves we can begin to see our own prejudices and in mindfulness begin to question and understand what we are really experiencing. Another person point of view may be wrong but the reasons why they come to the conclusions that they do makes real sense to them and for them they are right. Often we can do little to change another person’s point of view. However, we can change ourselves we do have choice.
Prejudices about race, religion, colour, orientation, and so on are mainly, if not always, driven by ignorance. If we never stop long enough or understand what we are experiencing and checking out what we believe to be the truth we will never, learn, grow are solve the problems of humanity.
So at this time I of goodwill and hope remember…
…If we all look after each other we will al be okay.
I hope that your preparation for the festive season is going well. Look after yourself yourself, look after each other and let’s make it a good one.