Welcome to stren #10. Substituting “I allow” for the blaming words “They make me...” is the second of the three critical word-switches that frees us from dictators. “I allow” shifts energy away from blindly obeying authority to assuming personal responsibility for our life’s experience.
Substitute the personal responsibility word-switch “I allow” for “he (she, they, it, the world, God, etc.) makes me ….” We are naturally prone to blame others (even our self) when the world disappoints us. Others come to no longer provide what we have come to expect during the many years we indeed did require that others take care of us. “I allow” inspires us to assume personal responsibility for our attitude and stop habitual blaming.
During most of our first decades, we are “takers.” We depend on others for our needs. We get used to being fed, protected, and having our basic needs provided for. Hopefully, we receive love along with our physical needs. Our life is highly controlled. When we say, “They make me ....” it is usually an accurate statement. We know “they” brought us into the world; “they” nurtured us and usually make sacrifices for our well-being. It’s not difficult to understand how we come to expect that the world is here to serve our needs and wants. When our nurturers, or any aspect of the world, do not comply with our expectations, no matter how unrealistic, we experience frustration. Frustration commonly leads to blaming others. Think of the many instances you have observed a child having a temper tantrum when gratification is not provided. All of us are born impatient. A favorite motto is, “I want what I want when I want it.”
There is a common tendency for us to get stuck in the blaming pattern, which is fostered by both instinct and our tradition. The easily identified blaming trigger sentence goes something like this: “Someone or something did what they shouldn’t have done (or didn’t do what they should have done) and therefore deserves punishment.” Instinct pre-wires us to secrete action chemicals when we are frustrated, usually signaling us to strike out. Our nurturer’s favorite way to curb aggression to others is to teach us to direct it inward. We call these self-putdowns “guilt.” Guilt is a human quality not seen in animals, although I’ve seen dogs taught behavior that appears to mimic our obsession.
As we attain adulthood and mental maturity, we become creators. We have a mission to become givers instead of takers. We are wise when we assume responsibility not only for our physical needs but also our emotional well-being. As long as we fail to assume self-mastery, we continue to deal with frustration by blaming others or ourselves. How surprised and resentful we can get when the world doesn’t meet our erroneous expectation that fairness should always prevail! One need only read the daily paper to see how frequently we engage in non-productive blaming, and the rarity of common sense problem-solving.
“I allow” is the word-switch we can use to turn off the blaming response and turn on a newer way of thinking, one that applies common sense. Two strens later, I’ll explain the universal “magical” problem-solving sentence. As a preview, it goes like this: “Given the situation, what is most likely to make things better for me and you, for now and the future?” We create preferred outcomes with the one-two combination: the “I allow” word-switch followed by the problem-solving word-switch.
The “I allow” word-switch is simple to apply. Put it to work and enjoy the benefits.