It’s way too easy to go around in life and constantly blame all of our issues on things “out there”. We got dealt a bad hand. The people in our lives – be it our parents, our spouses, our friends, our coworkers, our children, etc. – somehow “did us wrong”. The people in power – politicians, the President, Congress, the “elite”, Wall Street, etc. – have somehow messed things up!
Who do you blame for all of your troubles?
Maybe it’s time to stop directing the blame externally and take some responsibility ourselves.
(Yes, I do recognize most cable news commentators would be out of a job if they did this!)
The late Stephen Covey made a statement that I really love – “As long as you think the problem is out there, that very thought is the problem.”
Recently one of my spiritual teachers in speaking about our so-called “issues” in life made a very similar statement when he asked us to contemplate the following: “how you see your reality is the issue.”
Most of us want to disagree immediately with such statements! How can “my thinking” or “how I see my reality” be responsible for all of the problems I see? How can I be responsible for [insert here what you think is a major world crisis]? No, you argue, [insert here your favorite target to blame] is really responsible!
Spiritual teacher Wayne Dyer writes that “All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you. The only thing blame does is to keep the focus off you when you are looking for external reasons to explain your unhappiness or frustration. You may succeed in making another feel guilty about something by blaming him, but you won’t succeed in changing whatever it is about you that is making you unhappy.”
Again – who do you blame for all of your troubles?
In the Bible – in Matthew 7:1-3 – it says, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”
What does this mean? It can be seen different ways, of course, but to me, this passage is best summarized by another quote from Wayne Dyer: “When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.”
The fact is, our judgments of and our blaming of others “out there” are basically a reflection of our own beliefs, our own worldviews, our own internal thoughts. We have moved through a sequence of life experiences which have led us into accepting that certain things are simply “true”. These beliefs are so basic to our way of seeing the world that we no longer question them in any way – and that’s unfortunate because we never see how our cherished beliefs may be getting in the way of our true happiness.
Maybe it’s time to question your “reality”. When you feel your negative judgments about others coming up, I would suggest that you stop and consider the following:
What exactly does my judgment say about me?
What personal belief of mine am I highlighting through my anger or disapproval of others?
What thoughts can I change to allow me to let go of blaming others?
Beyond the outer world stories that I tell myself about what is going on here, ultimately what is really, really real here?
What thoughts can I change in this situation that would bring more harmony, peace and happiness to me?
What thoughts can I change that would bring more love to the world?
Ultimately, we need to remember that the only person we can really directly change is ourselves. However, our thoughts, words and deeds can through their example indirectly impact others. The only way we can ever effectuate real positive change is by changing our own thoughts – and that, friends, is an inside job!
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pss. And, here’s a link to my latest free audio presentation Waking Up and Showing Up!