How many of you are blamers? Who goes to the place where, once something bad happens, your first thought is: who’s at fault for this? It would be better to blame someone else instead of blaming ourselves. I do this all the time. There is a sense of control to know this is someone else’s fault instead of my own.
There was research done on this by Dr. Brené Brown, a professor at the University of Houston, which says that “Blame is simply the discharging of discomfort and pain. It has an inverse relationship with accountability; meaning that the people that blame a lot, seldom have the tenacity and grit to actually hold people accountable, because we spend all our energy raging for 15 seconds and try to figure out who’s blame it is.”
At an RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) event on August 15, 2013, Brown said “Accountability is calling someone and saying that my feelings were hurt when you said this… Nah Nah Nah… Blaming is simply a way where we discharge anger.”
Blaming is very corrosive to the relationships we have and is one of the main reasons why we miss our opportunities for empathizing with one another. When something happens around us, and we are hearing this story for the first time, we aren’t listening to what is being said, we are thinking of what happened and whose fault it is. I feel that we are so quick to blame others because we are afraid of shaming ourselves.
According to Brown, we live in a scarcity cutlery, where the mindset is that we are never ___________ enough (fill in the blank with whatever you would like). Shame is the swampland of the soul. Shame is a gremlin that is holding us back. It is the constant reminder of one’s self saying “No, you’re not good enough,” “You’re not pretty enough,” “You’re not smart enough,” shame is all that and more. If we are able to understand that and quiet ourselves down, saying, “I’m going to do this,” 99% of the critics that we see pointing and laughing is actaully ourselves.
“Shame is highly, highly correlated with addiction, depression, violence, aggression, bullying, suicide, and eating disorders,” Brown said. Shame is different for everyone. Shame can be this straight jacket that holds us back; it is an epidemic in our culture. So how can we fight back?
We need to fight it with empathy. Empathy is something that fuels connection with people. Empathy is feeling with people. Empathy is to stay out of judgment, then recognize what that person is feeling and communicate it back to that person. Empathy is where you are not to downplay the situation in front of you. We need to be with the person that has given us this type of situation, to provide the honest comeback and to share that they should not be full of shame for what they have shared with you.
We live in a world full of blame and shame. We don’t allow ourselves to do something because we feel it will lessen our self-worth. Take counseling as an example. In my personal experience, I had this thought that there must be something wrong with me if I need counseling, but that was one of the best parts of my life and wouldn’t trade it for the world.
With a world and a stereotype of “Never _______ Enough” the only way we can fight that off is by being empathetic to others in our everyday interactions.