I want to share this fun cartoon of a small snippet of a Brene Brown talk. The cartoon is about blaming. Blaming is pointing the finger and identifying who or what is responsible when something goes wrong.
Blaming is an attractive activity. If I can figure out who or what is responsible for my plans being ruined, my day being thrown off, or for a terrible tragedy then I can establish a sense of control and blaming can distract me from the pain I am experiencing.
For example, on Saturday (the day I’m writing this) I was supposed to go to an anti-Racism workshop for the Episcopal Church. I was supposed to be one of the small group facilitators. But then that morning, as I was getting ready to go I pinched a nerve. The entire left side of my back had shooting pain any time I twisted or lifted my left arm. My neck and shoulder had a sharp pain anytime I turned my head to the left. And this happened 10 minutes before I had to leave.
I felt powerless. There was no way I could drive safely to the event (30 – 40 minutes away on the highway), so I had to call someone to go and tell one of the organizers of the event that I couldn’t make it. I couldn’t call any of the organizers myself because I didn’t have any of their cell numbers. I felt utterly embarrassed and ashamed.
But it was so hard for me to acknowledge this as a strange coincidence. I needed to find someone to blame, to discharge my shame of having to cancel. So first I blamed the organizers, “Why do they have to schedule these trainings so early in the morning on a Saturday! If they had just scheduled it to start a few hours later, I’d be able to make it just fine.”
Then I blamed myself, “I am such a baby! I don’t have any pain tolerance at all. If I just would exercise more often this would NEVER happen to me.”
Then I (comically) blamed God “Clearly God did this to me because for whatever reason she doesn’t want me to go to this training.”
But all this blaming doesn’t do me any good. It was really a waste of time, it pushed me deeper into resentment and anger at myself, and it alienated me from those around me. So please, let’s drop the blaming, the point of the finger. Can we stop looking for who or what is at fault, and take a look inside of ourselves at the pain we are feeling?