We are so good at finding who to blame. But are we willing to spend the time to discover how we contribute to a problem and give others the space to discover the same?
I don't know how I got to this place in life but I know who's fault it is. When I was a chaplain students at my school used to love to blame their professors whenever they received bad grades. Of course, those same students were quick to fill with pride of self-accomplishment whenever their grades were good.
I would have just have been glad to pass the class, and for such a stance I blame my genetics.
Kidding! It's just that we often blame someone else or something else for why we are the way we are. We blame others for what happened. We blame others for how we feel. Does it get us anywhere? Has ascribing blame ever changed who I am or corrected what happened or make how we feel disappear?
That isn't the whole picture. We can look for signs of blame. We can reframe it into contributions. Then this framework can help us make a positive difference.
Here are three steps you can use to move from blaming others to discovering contribution in your life so you can make real progress.
- Look for signs of blame. When we blame someone else we invite all kinds of hard realities into our lives. Bitterness, despair, powerlessness, indifference, hate, anger, lust - and those are just some of the "negative" ones. Blame also masquerades in some "positive" tones as well. Justification. Context. These show up because we choose them, not because the other has chosen them for us. When blame is happening, it will produce fruit worthy of our denial. Or in a different light, blame can also be self-destructive when we seek it. Even love can be manipulated to produce blame. Undeveloped love often wants to take credit, mostly as a defense against being exposed as shallow.
- Reframe blame into contribution. Blame always assumes that someone is utterly and completely responsible for the situation. Contribution expects that the greater picture has many actors who have gotten us here. When we blame someone, we, in effect, give them power in our lives. We say they are the ones that have the power to change this. That's simply not true. Yes, someone or something has contributed to how you got here, but so have you. You've made some choices along the way, regardless of how well-meaning or malicious, that have contributed. Blaming others is a cop-out. How have they contributed to this? How have I?
- Use that insight to build your contributions. The beautiful thing about love is that you are not required a response. Love does its thing often because it doesn't have to ask for blame. It doesn't have to claim contribution (if it does, be careful!). Instead, contribution sees clearly how we can help things go right, not just correct what has gone wrong. You have more control that you'll admit to and less control than you may want. This does not stop you from giving real hope in hearts that are quick to look backward rather than forwards.