When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don't blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change.
~Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Zen Master
Boy, isn't that the truth? So why is it we humans do this? Most of us need to have someone to blame when something goes wrong. We have so much trouble simply accepting that something, not necessarily someone, has gone wrong. And if it is something that is wrong, it might be changed by us changing the scenario (adding water or fertilizer or sunshine). If it is someone, it is already out of our ability to change it, because we can not change other people. Easy-peasy discharge of responsibility!
Sometimes I think it is just easier to blame others because it makes it possible for us to just throw our hands up and say, "Oh well, I can't do anything because it is his/her fault!" Labeling it as a problem with something, an inanimate object, puts us in the position of having to accept responsibility to enable the changes (get busy with the watering can and the sack of fertilizer). Who the heck wants to do that???
Maybe I'm wrong, but I just think we are a bunch of scapegoaters. I'm not sure that is a real word, but I think you'll get the idea. We tend to push responsibility away from ourselves. It is hard to be responsible. It really is. When something goes wrong, it is uncomfortable, especially when the problem is something that might have occurred "on our watch." The first response is to look for who caused it, and certainly not ME!!! In reality, the solution is usually close to home, and it is going to be up to me to find the reason my lettuce is dying and to figure out how to keep it alive and turn around the trend, making it not just live, but thrive. As I said, it's a lot of work and none of us really, honestly want to be the "fixer." Well, unless we are simply fixing what someone else screwed up, because that makes us feel superior. No, we just want the blame to go far, far away, on the back of someone else.
I especially like the last two sentences of that quote: "No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change." How powerful the statement is, and how powerful we can be if we adopt that approach. But it takes work. The lettuce isn't going to be much help to us, and the humans in our lives will probably not cooperate with us. However, in the long run, I think it is worth the labor. I try hard to do this in my life, avoid blaming anyone, including myself, when things go wrong. It is often very tough to take this stand. It gets even tougher when I realize it is something in my own control, despite my best intentions, and that does happen. There are times when identifying the problem and deciding on a solution is more than I can face. Hopefully, the next day will be easier and I will be able to move forward.
It's just not easy, is it?