It’s all your fault!

Posted on January 28, 2009. Filed under: Health, HowTo, Philosophy, Spirituality |

pointing I was chatting with my friend, as I often do, and as usual the conversation revolved around fluffy, frothy topics such as “What is the meaning of life?”, “What does it mean to be human, specifically?”, Where does consciousness reside?”, —you know the sort of thing. πŸ˜‰

We came to some conclusions, tabled some topics, and he ended the conversation, as he often does, with the comment “It’s all your fault!” To which I replied, as I usually do, “Yep, you’re surely right about that!”

Now, in some contexts, this exchange may set off alarm bells. Could this be a co-dependent, or enabling relationship? In truth, at least with us, it’s really a sort of code-phrase we’ve developed for a specific purpose. Did you ever have a secret word or handshake or something with your best friend when you were are child? It’s a bit like that.

The twist to this is that most people might respond something like: “Of course ‘it’ (and it doesn’t really matter what ‘it’ is in this discussion), isn’t any ONE person’s ‘fault’! It takes two to tango.”

(Actually I have, upon occasion, tangoed all by myself, but that’s another post for another time.) BUT, even though we’re joking, and the humor reminds us not to take things as seriously as we otherwise might, we both mean these phrases literally. While I don’t, in most circumstances, like to use the word “fault” or “blame”, as I think the concepts are irrelevant (I wrote a whole post about why I think so), by using a phrase that psychology and communication gurus want us to stop using (“Blaming the Other Person in a relationship won’t get you anywhere; both of you have to take responsibility; blah, blah, blah…”—all true enough, of course) we remind each other that each of us is fully responsible for the situations, feelings, and circumstances in which we find ourselves.

The idea I’m currently exploring with this friend, and otherwise in my life, is this: “Whatever I see around me is a direct result of the thoughts I had been thinking for minutes, months, or years before this moment arrived.”

It’s not, in fact, “your” fault. Nor the government’s. Nor that of social institutions, oppression, poverty, injustice, my grandparents, the economy…anything else you care to name.

At this time I’m exploring this idea (which is different from subscribing to a belief) for both selfish and practical reasons. Succinctly: Any other world view is depressing to me. I don’t want to be depressed (I’m not of much use that way, and I DO like being of use) therefore, I’d rather choose to think differently. I also choose to think switching ones world view is as simple as that!

Now, following through, and acting from that point of view can be more challenging. Our habits of thought can be rather firmly entrenched. These ideas do not prevent me from acting, volunteering, sharing, writing, or otherwise hoping to contribute; it’s just that I don’t do so from a notion of something “out there” needing to be fixed. I really can’t “fix” anything but me, and I ain’t broke’ to begin with; I can only be improved upon! πŸ™‚

So when my friend tells me, in the process of taking leave, that “It’s all my fault!”, and I agree, it’s a reminder for both of us to check our mood, our level of optimism, or anything else that’s not quite right with us, and shift our way of thinking about it. This part is controversial, and I know not everyone agrees with me here, but I also think this is the best way to start to effect change in the broader playing field, i.e. ones city or country or the world. As has been attributed to M. K. Gandhi, “BE the change you wish to see in the world.”


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16 Responses to “It’s all your fault!”

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I honestly don’t know how to react to this post. I don’t know what the context is. In general though, if it is in a relationship; blame would probably lie on both parties involved – fault may not be on both at the same time. Alright, I think I don’t think I am making my point here. Will write again when I can get my thoughts in proper order πŸ˜€ instead of muddling through like this!

what we think is what we are..

when in any situation i do try to think how am i affecting this situation and how it will change with me changing my attitude towards it.. try being in the other persons shoes.. but it is really hard..

also when u say β€œWhatever I see around me is a direct result of the thoughts I had been thinking for minutes, months, or years before this moment arrived.” i agree.. it is our subconcious mind which creates the situations around us according to our thoughts (be it positive or negative)

it also reminds me of ‘The Alchemist’- “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” it is not just for dreams but for everything we think..

i m not sure if that is what u r trying to say here but it reminded me of these..

Muse, your comment about my site being weird a month ago suddenly reappeared. Was that normal? Anyway, I noticed that your posts are candid and more deeper now (and I’m still musing about ‘blame’). Good for you and all. lol

Your point about habits of thought is intriguing. I think the cliche about not teaching old dogs new tricks means more that we are entrenched in the way we think, which affects how we act. Or don’t. And somehow related is the fact that some people are more open to change than others. Which came first? The entrenched thinking or is the resistence (or openness) to change somehow hard-wired?

I’m not a believer in depression either but I’m a staunch realist and realism to me is sometimes regarded by others as pessimism. ie: the crumbling global economy. No rose-colored glasses here.

Thanks for the food for thought!

As has been attributed to M. K. Gandhi, β€œBE the change you wish to see in the world.”

And there by I stand, on Isle of green, liberty et free, my fellow stand and I do thus to say “We were free”.

That is a line from a poem I once wrote – not a good one, just a doodle really.

BUT – not wanting to take a great chunk of post space – and boring your readers to death, Muse – I have found a new, invigorating theme that has always been a part of me that has only really surfaced of late.

I am, will always be, a liberal, social democrat, and I detest what my country of birth has become. Why I blog so much about it is because it isn’t the place I knew and still love. It has become a place that I don’t recognise any more.

I am the change I want to be – I do teach my children here that being a liberal is the way forward. I only wish I had the power to change that same thing ‘back home’. And I am doing that by blogging, adding my voice to my fellow liberals in Blighty – arguing the case on all those blogs I read daily.

If I am heard just once and it makes a difference – i will be happy – but the fight has to go one.

Great post, by the way!

PS – I always tell the kids “Blame Dad – it’s always Dad’s fault – that way you can’t get into trouble!”.

Hey, your thoughts are fine, Apar! I appreciate you sharing them. I can understand this may seem like it’s out of context. Something to consider. I wonder if you are saying there is a difference between blame and fault? In truth, I think beyond both of those there is responsibility—for ones own feelings, at least, and perhaps much more.

Hello oorja, it is good to see you here! Thanks for reminding me about the book The Alchemist. It has been recommended to me, but I haven’t read it. I’m off to the library tomorrow, though, and they have it! I like what you say about being in the other person’s shoes. We can’t ever really know what that’s like, but I do ask myself “If I were in their situation, how would I like to be treated?” I find that helpful, but as you point out, also difficult. Thank you for your contribution, I very much appreciate it!

Oh, you mean is it normal for an old comment to reappear in your “My Comments” queue, poch? I think it did that because I linked to the older post in this one. The link puts a fresh comment on the old post, so it shows up again. Thank you; that’s very kind! I think I go through phases…”serious and deep”…and then not as much. πŸ˜›

Thank you ella!!! Equally intriguing is your question about whether or not some of us are hardwired for change. I read, during the recent presidential campaign, that research has shown that brainscans can predict whether someone will have liberal or conservative political leanings. If we really “can’t help ourselves” in THAT area, what does that say for other thinking patterns? I’m glad there are realists in the world. I need you, and your ilk, for balance! I’m not kidding! I am far from being a realist, myself, but I like to get my required doses. In fact, you’ve given me an idea for another post… πŸ˜‰

Will! That’s a wonderful poem-line! I’d like to read the rest; honestly! Oh, yes, you may bore my readers a little bit, but please not to death! I’d get lonely! πŸ˜› It must feel sad to you to look at old Blighty and see it as it is now. I do think you embody the change you wish to see, and have the courage of your convictions as well. You are a fine example for the kiddies. Thank you! May I blame you as well, or is that privilege restricted to members of your family? πŸ˜‰

I remember that story about libs and conservatives, Muse. It was interesting but I don’t know how it explains those who switch from one extreme to another, not for the sake of expedience but a genuine change, ie: Ronald Reagan.

You’re not a realist? Truly? Huh, fooled me. But now that I think about it, I should have known that! πŸ˜‰

I’m not sure I get this, but I do think our thoughts do shape who we are, and most of what happens to us is the result of some choice or other. This is a very positive post, in spite of the title. I admire that. πŸ™‚

I’ve always liked that quote from Gandhi. I think the world would be much different and better place if everyone would live by that, rather than waiting on the desired change to happen w/o them.

I try to place myself in the other persons shoes as well. Mostly on how their feelings and the situation in general will be effected, but I also try to look even further beyond that, and how the slightest situation could snowball into something much larger. Like if you really think about it, almost everything we do effects someone else’s life directly (good or bad), and then countless others indirectly. The instance that comes to mind most often is letting someone pull out in front of you while you’re waiting at a redlight. A nice gesture that potentially could change their entire day.

That may be a little bit off-topic, but a few of the comments brought that to my mind πŸ˜‰

I appreciate that point about Reagan, ella. I thought that it was interesting that such a study was done. I don’t know lots of details, or how definitive it was. It may be that perceived values of a particular candidate drive the response, or that it’s easier to determine these days as the parties become more polarized. But that’s just speculation.
Oh, dear, I didn’t mean to fool you. But we can still be friends, can’t we? πŸ™‚ Just to be clear, my non-realism stems from definitions of realism such as this: “… there is a claim about existence. Tables, rocks, the moon, and so on, all exist, as do the following facts: the table’s being square, the rock’s being made of granite, and the moon’s being spherical and yellow. The second aspect of realism about the everyday world of macroscopic objects and their properties concerns independence. The fact that the moon exists and is spherical is independent of anything anyone happens to say or think about the matter.” —from the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy.
I don’t find my beliefs lining up with that definition, particularly the last line, and I believe there are some concepts in theoretical physics to support my leanings. Hmmm, haven’t done a nice physics post lately… πŸ˜€

Your last sentence made me smile, B0bby, thank you for that! I would say that life IS a series of choices…even when it doesn’t seem so. I think you “get it” just fine!

Indeed, Shane! It does make one stop and think, and, in my case, stop whining! πŸ˜› That’s a completely lovely thought you’ve expressed. Small gestures of thoughtfulness can bloom into amazing changes, sometimes for the whole world. I really appreciate you sharing that perspective! πŸ™‚

I started reading your blog because you always gave me food for thought. You reminded me how important it is to be positive and how we chose to think can very well change our outlook on life, happiness and health. You inspired me and made me want to better myself. At the same time, I usually went away with a tinge of guilt. Having been brought up this way and knowing the consequences of negative thinking, I just couldn’t bring myself not to write about negative things. I do it to inspire change. But it is still depressing and negative.

This time with the mention of a wonderful line by Gandhi again I felt guilt. I felt I needed to justify somehow, what I was doing. So, it IS all your fault! πŸ˜‰

I hope you know that I just joking. That is my issue. But I kind of added a response to this in my latest post. You’ll wear off on me one day. πŸ˜‰

Oh, BD, you are such a lovely soul! I sincerely appreciate all the praise! πŸ™‚ You are a passionate person, as I mentioned in a comment to you recently, and I think coming from ones passion is almost always, ultimately, a positive thing. When any of us see injustice in the world, we do respond, one way or another. One of my ways is to look for the positive aspects in challenging situations. One of yours is to educate us, and I learn a great deal from you. There are those who are looking for this kind of information, and you provide a real service; I really believe that. Hey, of course it’s all my fault! I accept my responsibility! πŸ˜‰ Seriously, I did read your post, and it was thoughtful, and totally justifies (not that you need that) your position and the road you take. I just want you to be well and happy in the midst of the good work you do! πŸ™‚

Thanks, Muse. I often walk away from my posts feeling bad. But if I can learn to find a way to look at these things and maybe think about how something good can come of it or what can be learned. Then maybe I won’t always feel that way.

You have mentioned before that things happen for a reason. And I do believe it. I just wish bad things didn’t happen. But they do. If change for the better, or an awakening happens out of it, maybe that is the reason behind it. Like saying ‘we don’t want to live this way anymore’ or ‘war is wrong and won’t really solve any problem’ or ‘we do have enough to go round’

The bad things in life might happen to make us realize we need to change. It’s just too bad it takes such horrible things to happen to make us say we have had enough. To start living harmoniously and remind us we are all one. We need to start taking care of each other, everywhere. Starting small, locally. Then when we can look out beside us and see if our neighbor (anywhere in this world) needs a hand.

Does this make any sense?

Sure. Very much sense.

Nope, Muse – just blame me – if you hit your thumb with a hammer – scream “It’s Will Rhodes’ fault!!’

Will make you feel better right away LOL

Exactly, BD, you DO do good, and I hope it would make you feel better to acknowledge that. As for things having a reason, I believe that. I just don’t always know what the reason is. I think you have a great point here when you say the bad things make us consider how we’d rather it would be, and how we can help the change. πŸ™‚ And, I agree with poch (thanks poch!) —you make a great deal of sense! πŸ˜‰

Thanks for that opportunity, Will! I’ll start taking advantage of it right away! πŸ˜› And now I feel like part of your family, too…awww! πŸ˜€

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