“It’s all my fault. I’m to blame. Why didn’t I do it differently? Why didn’t I know better?” I loooove to play the blame game. I love to have that dialogue in my head (more like diatribe). On Tuesday I went to the physical therapist and looked at myself in the mirror. As I did so I felt like I was to blame for everything wrong with my body. I’m the reason my knees are knobby. I’m the reason my hips hurt. I’m the reason my hair is scraggly. And to top it off, I received outside reinforcement. My physical therapist said to me if I hadn’t sat in the “w” position when I was a child (with my feet behind me and my knees in front of me) my knees would be “normal.” Or my hips wouldn’t hurt if I strengthened my pelvic core.
I’m not blaming her because Lord knows I do that enough to myself. What I’m doing though is asking myself how I benefit. How do I benefit from taking the blame for everything? What do I get from finding fault? The answer is nothing (surprise, surprise). The feeling of blame doesn’t help me change anything. It doesn’t help me solve my problem.
The blame game, especially when I play by myself, keeps me stuck in the problem. I’d rather live in the solution. And sometimes there is no solution. That’s where serenity comes in. Accepting the things I cannot change and changing the things I can. I can’t change the past. I can’t change how my knees grew in. So maybe I can stop blaming myself for how they stick out and instead start accepting and appreciating them for getting me where I want to go. I can choose to love and accept myself as I am or continue to play the blame game. Take me out coach, I’m done.
I used to think blame was a great motivator. “If I chastise myself enough I’ll do something!” Um, no. If I chastise myself enough I’ll feel bad, that’s it. My parents loved to say to me as a child, “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.” I don’t know if that’s technically true because I catch an awful lot of flies with apple cider vinegar, but I think the concept is sound. Love is a much better motivator than fear. I would do absolutely anything for the people I love. Not so much for the people I fear.
I guess what I’m saying in a roundabout way is blame doesn’t serve me. Blame gives me pain rather than serenity. And serenity is what I’m shooting for these days. I can’t fix my joints but I can strengthen my pelvic core and get a haircut. And I can also look myself in the mirror and accept what I see because it’s much easier to change your mind than it is to change your body. Cheaper too.
I dream of a world where we cut blame out of the equation. A world where we understand blame is useless because it doesn’t help us to solve anything. A world where we each experience serenity, accepting the things we cannot change and having the courage to change the things we can. A world where we live in the solution, asking what we can do about the situation. A world where we know practice love and compassion not only for each other but for ourselves.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.