Monday, August 6, 2012
The Blame Game
When I was seventeen I left my parent's house. For some years after I would blame anyone but myself for my problems, most especially, my parents. Things always seemed to happen to me because of how I was raised. Everything seemed to be my parent's fault. And things kept happening to me. It was nothing terrible, but just stuff, when it would happen, always seemed to be because of something other than me.
But once I accpeted that things in my life were mostly my own fault, or better and in not even "blaming" even myself, of my own design, and started to take responsibility for who I was and what I was doing, I stopped feeling so negative about life in general and about the people around me; even when it was indeed someone else's fault. I started to tell myself that yes, who I was had a lot to do with my parent's efforts (or lack of) in raising me and the home life that they created which at times, was very negative.
But at age eighteen, or at the age at which I moved out anyway, it then became my issue, my "fault" if you will and my responsibility to take what I had been given, and make myself who I then thought I should be. As adults, we are responsible for who we are. Prisons are full of people who never took on that responsibility.
Once I started looking at the bad things in my life, even when in some instances it truly was another's fault, life was just, better. In most instances things probably were my fault simply for allowing myself into a situtation that would allow for something bad to happen. Once I instead considered that had I simply made better, more well thought out decisions and consciously chosen the best of all possibly alternatives, then whatever bad thing that would have happened, very likely wouldn't have happened.
It was at that point, once I truly began to believe and accept it, that my life become more positive.
At that point, my relationships with people grew in quality and substance and life just seemed more friendly to me. Before that, I had few friends because once someone did something that I judged wrong, well, that was it for them. I had very high ethical expectations for people. Too high, I think.
But in the end, we're all Human. Right? We are falliable. We do make mistakes and hopefully, for some of us anyway, we do learn from them.
"Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me", certainly has some merit; but it leaves an opening for bad feelings. But, "fool me once shame on me", has even more power, more personal responsibility; it requires of you, more awareness in life and as long as you don't take it emotionally, but functionally, you are actually protecting yourself more, and the others from their harming you, or even themselves. You can trust them more openly, albeit with restraint and intelligence.
Someone once told me after they had ripped me off, "You were naieve in trusting so much, why did you believe me?" Why? Because I want to be able to trust those around me. Who wants to go through life not trusting everyone. It makes you paranoid after a while.
So from then on, if I got "burned" by someone (and understand that my bar for being "burned" back then was pertty low, it was almost, in a way, like I was setting people up to fail), it didn't mean that I wouldn't have you around, it just meant that I wouldn't allow you to burn me again, as it then became my responsibility not to let it happen. I put the burdon on myself for not allowing others to take advange of me and the responsibility became my own. At that point, I saw people around me with more empathy and concern, too.
It also meant that I got "burned" much less in the first place. In my opening up to them after the fact and sharing all that with them (if I did feel I had been burned), it did me more good, it helped them more (or gave them more opportunity for change) and it helped the relationship; IF there was anything there to help in the first place. After all, some people are just out to get whatever they can out of you. And at that point, if they weren't very good people to begin with, you know knew that and they usually made the decision to leave themselves, as I was no longer a source of abuse for them.
So as the Dalai Lama says, in this new way to viewing life and the people around me, I did feel more peace and joy in life and from then on, I was simply much happier with my life and who I was.
Responsibility, really can bring you Peace and Joy.