Finally Getting Out of Blame and Into Responsibility
The big difficulty with getting out of blame and taking responsibility for moving your life forward is that there are a lot of people out there that are truly worthy of an immense amount of blame. When you have been a victim of injustice, the condition that most of the world lives in, then it is not so easy to move out of the blame state. There are people that do bad stuff. You could lose your job, have things stolen, or be assaulted in any number of ways. The list could go on and on.
What I am about the write I sincerely wish I had known a couple of decades prior. And since I have only really been able to apply it to the dream work and change work recently, I am just beginning to see just how powerful it is. My blame started when I first got fired in the late 90s. Then it intensified when I was fired again a number of years after. And then it got me into a stage of complete coldness to leaders after the third firing a few years later.
To do the work of getting out of blame is not to be in denial about the injustice. I don’t believe I was treated fairly any of times they let me go, but I also don’t want to live in the state of perpetual blame and bitterness toward those leaders. They were just living a different script than mine. Responsibility for moving on and getting to unexpected growth can be accomplished when you do the change work in two stages. The first stage of the transformation is in the outer real world and how to deal with that reality. The second stage is how to deal with the inner world. This is where the great treasure lies.
It is helpful when doing this work to have a very strong differentiation between the outer world, which is basically the world we live in during our daily lives and the inner world, where time and space no longer exist, where only your inner self exists. When you deal with how you are feeling and your blaming ways in the outer world, you learn what is open and what is closed in the outer world. You accept the outer reality and take steps to deal with it. When you deal with the inner world, the same need for precautions do not exist. It is just you, the ego, and you the true self, and that is it.
Whatever happens in the outer world is also happening in the inner world. This is the huge step of acceptance and humility that made a huge difference for me. If you were stolen from by a thief on a motorcycle grabbing your purse as he drove by, then that is what happened. In the outer world you need to make some changes to prevent it from happening again. Maybe you have to not carry a purse. When you accept that happened and that injustice exists and that the other person lives in a different moral reality than you, then you can deal with the outer world and live fully in it.
The big change happens, however, when you realize that you are also being a thief to yourself in the inner world. You may be fearful of going out and interacting with the world because of having been assaulted in your current living situation, but the inner robbery happened much earlier. This is where the really strong fear exists.
In my case with having been fired the outer firings keep from fully participating in change discussions in the organization. It is not safe to say the truth as I see it because the negative truth is a threat to the way the organization is currently being run. When I accepted that reality, then in the outer world I can keep my job which is the best thing for family at this stage in our lives. The problem is how to deal with the inner firings. When you have a bad outer enemy, it is so tempting to stay in the world of blame and be justified for it. It is not so easy to get to a place of humility where you have to admit and ask yourself how your fire yourself. OUCH!!!!
When you take the step of going to the inner world, it is only you and you. You can only blame yourself or yourself. The very exact moment when you accept that you have fired yourself or stolen from yourself or assaulted yourself is when you move from blame to taking responsibility. Even if that is as far as you can get, it puts you so much more in control of your life than the other culprit in the outer world. My first step in the process of responsibility is to go inside and ask myself how I fire myself. How do I fire myself?
Here is the divine irony for me. When I go back to trace when I fired myself, it was when I first began school when I was five years old. All I can remember is being totally overwhelmed, that it was all very dark, and that I just retreated inside fearful to speak out and fully participate. My inner voice of ego protection just told me to stay inside and not come out. I went into a shell-like experience. I was my own worst enemy. At 5 there was no strong positive voice inside telling me things were safe when they really were in the outer world. So when I created the positive voice inside to replace the negative one, it just has made every bit of difference. The divine irony is that I spend most of my waking hours working with 5 years teaching them how to be more courageous. As I get more courageous in the outer world so do they. When I started doing this work, all of a sudden they started achieving in a few days the things that normally take several months or a couple of years to get to. It is pretty incredible. Not surprisingly the type of leader who normally doesn’t allow truth telling also left my work environment. It is pretty miraculous.