It happens this way …
In twelve days, we’ll celebrate our 26th anniversary. It’s been a fabulous journey of self-discovery and other-discovery, and of learning and re-learning lessons we were drawn together to teach each other.
One of the latest – and biggest – lessons we’ve tackled is how to stop our incessant blame- storming.*
You left your dirty plastic bags on the counter again.
They’re not mine. They’re yours.
Please clean up the mess you made on the stove top.
I didn’t cook anything tonight.
You left the heat on again.
You were the last one downstairs. Why didn’t you shut it off?
And so it goes.
What is it about blaming the other that seems both satisfying and self-protective? (If you’re up to it, note how many times politicians blame others for situations they create.)
We just discovered the best remedy to release the blaming habit. It comes from Thích Nhất Hạnh. He explains:
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.. 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.
Now, when we start to blame, we use a code word to bring it to our consciousness. We simply say “lettuce.” This will make the next 26 years so much more productive!
* The process of assigning blame for an outcome or situation