Blame vs. Responsibility

by Dan on July 30, 2009


One of my most cherished readers contacted me about my last article about weight loss, with some reservations.  While she enjoyed much of it, she pointed out some segments that could be deemed offensive, particularly my last line

“Just know this, if you cleared yourself out emotionally and spiritually, you would not be overweight. This I am 100% sure of.”

Let that quote simmer in your head for a moment, and tell me what thoughts come up.

If you’re like many people, you may have equated my statement with, “You’re fat and it’s your own damn fault!”

Is that what I said?

Maybe I’m blaming the overweight women for thinking and feeling the wrong way?

To get something straight, “blame” and “fault,” are not in any spiritual person’s vocabulary.  Those two words carry a massive negative energy, and it would do well for any person to delete those from all speech, whether written or spoken.

When you “blame” someone, or say it’s their “fault,” you’re basically saying, “This person should feel guilty for this problem.”

What I’m talking about is responsibility and ownership, which are both completely guilt-free.  This is the idea that you create your life, and everything ends up being up to you to get done.

Can you be responsible for you situation without being blamed for it?  Of course.

Imagine a 2 year old that crawls into the sunlight on a hot day.  The child is very fair skinned, so after about twenty minutes of playing, he gets sunburned.

Some of you may exclaim “THAT’S THE PARENTS’ FAULT!”

Whether the parents could have prevented it or not, let the parental factor go for now, as all analogies are imperfect by nature.

Ask yourself this, did the child’s action create the sunburn?  Did he at least participate in the event of getting sunburned by crawling into the sun?

Undoubtedly, the answer comes to a yes.  But is anyone blaming him?  Of course not.  He didn’t know any better.

You might say that it’s not a fair comparison when you relate an adult’s problems to a two year old’s.

To that, I would say that in terms of spiritual and social development, we’re all two year olds.  Scientific knowledge about the energetic phenomena of the world is clearly in its infancy.

Someone may watch a movie like The Secret, and be offended that says your thoughts and feelings are what cause your life events.

As one friend asked me, “If a woman gets raped, are you saying she caused it?”

Before I answer this very charged issue, let me make something clear.  No religion, philosophy, or worldview has a comfortable answer for why we suffer.

Suppose a woman gets raped.  What do the major worldviews say about it?

Judaism/Christianity/Islam: “God either allowed her to be raped, or intentionally made it happen.”

Hinduism: “This woman created negative karma in a past life.  Maybe she raped someone 200 years ago.  She’s paying it off now with her own victimhood.”

Buddhism: “The rape is an illusion.  It didn’t happen.”

Atheism: “She got raped.  Life’s a bitch, and then you die.”

Would any of these make a rape victim feel better about her recent trauma?

There’s really no way to add a silver lining to a rape without insulting the victim.  However, treating the victim sympathetically, as someone who’s been brutalized randomly, isn’t very helpful either.

What’s the one thing that will benefit the rape victim?  Empowerment.  This is the idea that no matter how deep you’ve dug yourself into a hole, you have the infinite power to dig yourself right back out of it.  If you’ve made yourself bankrupt, you can make yourself rich.  If you’ve made yourself miserable, you can make yourself blissful.

Pretty much, the only three “non-negotiables” I know of are losing a limb, having a baby, and contracting an incurable STD.  If you do one of those three, your life is going to be very different no matter what thoughts you think.  So… wear a rubber and don’t play with chainsaws.   Everything else is pretty safe.

Ok, back to the subject at hand.

What could be more empowering than the idea that you create your own reality?  We all know it’s true to some extent.

Suppose a man walks home from work on a late night.  If he has his head up and is feeling confident, he is much less likely to be attacked on the way home, based on social psychological principles alone.  And even if that man does get attacked, no one’s pointing fingers, saying it’s his fault.  You only need someone to blame if you believe guilt is required for every unhappy event.

One last thing to consider is that the offensiveness of a belief has absolutely no bearing on if it is true.  Christian apologists often make the argument that if there is no God, then life is meaningless.  “If there’s no God, then life sucks.  Therefore, there’s a God.”  Riiiiiight.

Even if the ideas of the Law of Attraction and other spiritual beliefs were offensive, demeaning, and hostile, that would be no reason to not consider the veracity of the claims.  After all, pretending the universe matches your preferences is just a child’s imaginary game, is it not?

The good news is that there is need for a concession of this nature, because the spiritual laws I’m talking about are completely loving and accepting.  They just take a bit of a shift in perceptions to get used to.

And to my cherished reader who brought this up, thank you for bringing this to my attention.  You inspired this article, and I encourage other readers to tell me what’s on their minds.

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