Being responsible for our lives has nothing to do with blame. Placing any blame anywhere, even on ourselves, abdicates responsibility.
Here is how it works. (Note: The emotion of anger is used here merely as an example. The discussion also applies to other emotional states, such as anxiety, feeling down and the like.) Assuming we get angry at what someone does, or at what someone did, or at what someone didn’t do, looking at who is to blame doesn’t give the possibility of getting to the cause of the anger. Instead, the cause of the anger is overlooked because there is someone to blame. That someone could even be us. So, by placing blame anywhere, the real cause of the anger is overlooked.
Placing blame doesn’t only apply to anger. Whenever we find we’re looking to blame something or someone, bear in mind that blame isn’t about being responsible, but merely abdicating responsibility, and we are back into living a second-choice existence.
When looking at anger, for example, what relates to a first-choice existence is when we look at why we’re getting angry. Why is the anger set off? In an upcoming section titled “Reliving the Moment to Uncover Its Importance,” you’ll learn the importance of slowing down or breaking down the moment when we get angry, to determine what in us results in our anger and then wanting to place blame. And then, in that slowed-down moment, looking very carefully at what lies underneath the anger. It is highly likely that in that moment before the anger sets in, our Factor-x kicked in.
A warning: Blaming is not about being responsible, and it doesn’t help at all to blame Factor-x. This, again, is abdicating responsibility. Instead, what should be accepted is that, once again, Factor-x is at the bottom of the anger, so resulted in the anger: thus, where the anger originated. Being responsible is accepting this as the origin of the anger, and knowing that Factor-x doesn’t serve us—and recognizing that we would prefer to eradicate Factor-x’s influence in our lives. That is being responsible—not placing blame at any doorstep. While placing blame, we are unable to look at what really happened and miss a great opportunity to look at the cause of the anger.
By the way, the more we address things in our lives in this way, the more we see what drives our lives. While this is extremely difficult at first, and could be for many years, at some point, looking at the cause of things become easier when being responsible takes on a dimension that overshadows everything else in our lives. When we go forward looking for the cause of anything that disturbs our inner peace (our peace of mind), our responsibility for our lives grows.
There is always the trap of blame. We could be in a situation where we lose peace of mind, where we recognize something has thrown us into disarray, that we are deeply troubled, and we then find ourselves saying, “But I should know better,” and, “Surely this shouldn’t be happening to me.”
Again, the blame is there, and it ruins it for us. What is needed every single time, without fail, is to look at what lies underneath us getting angry—the anger’s underlying cause. Saying we should know better places blame on ourselves—again, abdicating responsibility. And again, this doesn’t serve us. This is a very easy trap to fall into, so be warned. Being responsible and not blaming is the only way forward in a first-choice existence.