How do you behave when something goes wrong? Do you a) pause to gauge your part in the matter, accept responsibility, and move toward a solution? Or do you b) immediately look for someone else—anyone else—to blame? If your (no doubt reluctant) answer is b, Karen McGregor says what you’re actually doing is trying to protect yourself from the deep-rooted belief that you aren’t enough.
“By making it someone else’s fault, we gain a sense of control and righteousness about life,” says McGregor, author of Wall Street Journal bestseller The Tao of Influence: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Leaders and Entrepreneurs (Mango, September 2020, ISBN: 978-1-64250-275-6, $24.95). “When we blame, we get to be right. We get to have the last word. We get to justify our own unhappiness.
“Tragically, we also abdicate our responsibility to make choices for our own lives,” she adds. “We’re forever pointing the finger at the ‘they’ whose fault everything is. And we also relinquish our ability to feel inner peace and joy.”
McGregor explains that what she calls the “Blamer” is one of eight power patterns that take over when we allow an out-of-control ego to run the show. They distort our Divine Power and keep us from living our best life.
The Blamer sabotages us by harming our ability to build trusting relationships, both at home and in the workplace—anyplace, really, where people feel unsafe to make mistakes, be authentic, and tell the truth. When we’re prone to finger-pointing, others will naturally avoid us, or suppress facts they know we won’t like, or even outright lie.
“If you’re a Blamer, you have an enormous rulebook of how others ought to behave,” says McGregor. “Your transactions are based on if: ‘If you do this, I will be happy.’ ‘If you don’t say this, I will feel comfortable.’ Yet this inevitably leads to unhappiness since the world will never obey your every command or align with all of your personal rules.”
The good news is you can overcome your addiction to blame. McGregor’s book lays out a path—rooted in the ancient wisdom of the 4,000-year-old Tao Te Ching—for identifying and breaking the power patterns that undermine your influence, create dysfunctional relationships, and otherwise squelch your potential.
Here are a few of her tips for taming your inner Blamer:
Commit to never again blame another person for your choices. Promise yourself to never utter words that imply you are not 100 percent responsible for your life. Don’t feed the notion that something or someone else is responsible for your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, or actions.
Become a “blame watchdog.” Be vigilant to the moment you think or say words that indicate blame. Stop mid-sentence or mid-thought and replace that blame with words that are the true source of power. If you think, She never makes up her mind and expects me to make all the decisions for her, say out loud, “STOP.” Feel the love you have in that moment for the person.
“Ask yourself, What do I love about this person?” says McGregor. “Perhaps it’s kindness. You could say, ‘She is kind and loving to my kids and me. I do not wish to change her; I wish only to change me. I let go of all blame now.’ Saying this frees you from the vicious never-ending cycle that blame creates.”
Embrace the “Law of Change.” This is one of the powerful laws of nature that Blamers struggle with, says McGregor. The Law of Change tells us that nothing in life stays the same. Plants and animals live in a constant state of growth, decay, and rebirth. Humans are the only species that resist change—especially whatever they interpret as difficult change. When we resist the Law of Change, we can turn outward, blaming, complaining, and repeating the same story or circumstances to others.
“When we point fingers of blame at the outer world, it’s generally because we’re not accepting the Law of Change in our inner world,” says McGregor.
Remember this powerful quote: “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there.” Rumi shared a great truth: Only when we set down our addiction to blame will we ever fully enter a field of possibility. Put these words on your office desk, in your living room or bedroom, and carry them with you in your wallet. When you are dealing with Blamer energy, you’ll need it everywhere you go.
Learn from the past. If you have felt enormous betrayal in your life, and you feel justified to blame someone, ask yourself, Why didn’t I listen to my intuition about this? What inside me refused to receive the clear intuition that was available to me all along? When you reflect deeply on these questions and make the commitment to never blame another again, you will be well on your way to releasing this power pattern.
“It’s so tempting to blame others for how you are feeling, but this is a shortcut around dealing with your own insecurities that damages your life in many ways,” concludes McGregor. “But when you commit yourself to the belief that you are truly enough, you no longer need the drama of blaming others for your unhappiness. And as Blaming energy dissolves, your blossoming relationships drive home the message of your inherent worth.”