BY: T. Franklin Murphy | January 2016
We soothe guilt by blaming others, providing an immediate reward of relief and long term damage of avoidance.
We willingly surrender freedom, delivering our futures to unseen forces. We blindly participate in our own misery. We grimace and roll our eyes, crudely accusing others, pointing our finger for any disappointments. Our expressions scream innocent victimhood while self-righteously condemning others of evilness. Many of us—all of us some of the time, some of us all of the time—thoughtlessly claim entitlement to an undisturbed life. When life opposes, we react, exploding inside, seeking cause for the horribleness that unfairly befell us.
We all judge. We gather information, assess intentions, recall the past, and make a judgment. This occasionally includes identifying hurtful acts of others. Wisdom from learning protects us from repeated violations of disloyalty and injury. Judgments serve a purpose. But judgments flawed and infused with bias self-serve. We don’t exist independently. Our story—where we are the main character—is comingled with the billions of other stories that simultaneously exist, playing out concurrent dramas. Others also have self-serving biases expressed in their judgments. On the stage of collective existence, conflict and cooperation play out. If our needs define life, we neglect a complexity that includes others, narrowing our vision and unfairly condemning intruders for existing independent of our self-serving purposes.
When open to reality, through connection with others and awareness of differing goals, our knowledge lessens the emotional upheavals from the misguided entitlements of a singular existence. A wider perspective—which includes visions of others’ needs and goals—enhances our experience, transforming selfish emotional reactions to more constructive approaches; which may induce closer examination of self for contributing causes.
When we realistically exam disappointments, the honest openness ushers enlightening insights, growing wisdom and improving futures. The honest examination of self involvement in disappointments develops wisdom to escape future injuries while promoting the growth of character. We don’t master this process. Pain still hurts; disappointments still sting. We just get better at working through them. Wisdom enlarges self-understanding. We learn our limits, cautiously approaching the edges, seeking assistance where needed before floods of emotions overwhelm and destroy.
"A wider perspective—which includes visions of others’ needs and goals—enhances our experience, transforming selfish emotional reactions to more constructive approaches; which may induce closer examination of self for contributing causes.."
Setting the ego aside, we accept vulnerabilities of imperfection and individual needs for connectedness. We acknowledge the presence of blemishes both on our selves and others. When difficulties appear, instead of wasting precious energy blaming, we seek constructive answers. But we approach these assessments cautiously, recognizing the perniciousness of judgmental emotions that protect the ego, and divert blame to something more easily digested. By ignoring personal connectedness to the happenings in our life, we lose power to change; for a mere morsel of relief, we invite continued failings. Happenings occur from complex inputs; others often share in the blame. They may unintentionally—or intentionally—disrupt our plans. When this happens, we must dig a deeper, seeking how we became entangled with the disruptive forces. The answers may stun our senses but knowledge also releases the demons damning our futures.
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