We are connected.
Our interdependence means that the actions of each individual does, indeed, affect others and the world around us, whether we like it or not.
This awareness can lead us to take personal accountability. But, within that, it can also be tempting to blame those who are not operating from the same ideas, beliefs or values, as we are, for creating the suffering on the planet.
But, I invite you to realize that we can be personally accountable for our part in the world, hold others accountable AND release blame.
Blame and accountability are not the same thing. And the reason it’s important to distinguish the difference is that blame, as well as the subsequent reactions, are a distraction that delays or prevents solutions.
To blame is to assign value to an action. And trust me, I get how much easier it is to do than choose to understand, and act from a place of compassion, so stay with me here.
Someone can be responsible for something, without value being assigned to a specific action.
Let’s take this out of human action for a moment to an example I like to give in my workshops.
Let’s say we are in a chemistry lab and we take two chemicals and mix them together. It causes an explosion. We are able to recognize that this is basic cause and effect.
I mix these two compounds together. They explode. We don’t say, “that was totally Chlorine’s fault!” We don’t feel the need to assign value to the situation. We can just recognize the chemical reaction.
Now, that becomes much harder to understand when we translate it over to humans. We start talking about free will and how humans have brains, and should “know better” and all of that.
But, I believe a lot of life can be thought about as a series of actions and reactions. And while it can be so easy to jump into the middle of the story and try to assign value or fault to the small portion we are viewing, I encourage you to widen your view.
From a wider view, you might see, for example, how that person, or their lineage, is so blinded by trauma, that they couldn’t possibly see things as clearly as you feel they should.
Should we blame them for being traumatized? Should we blame them for not healing that trauma yet? We can hold them accountable without blaming them, so personally, I would lean in that direction, because, again, blame distracts from solutions.
Now, don’t get me wrong, acceptance, and lack of blame does not mean complacency. If you encounter behavior that is toxic to yourself or others, take conscious action.
I assume you would not just stay in the room while your two chemicals are releasing fumes and exploding, arguing about which chemical was to blame, but rather you would (hopefully!) remedy the situation to the best of your ability.
I ask you what is the equivalent of that in life.
We will be more likely to take conscious action when we are not distracted by finger pointing.
And, perhaps, more than ever, when there are so many old systems crumbling, and so much dissonance, we would benefit from dropping the distraction of blame and moving into compassionate action and effective solutions.