24 May STOP THE BLAME GAME
The Mishnah in Pirkeh Avot (4:22) teaches:
Do not let your evil inclination assure you that the afterlife is your escape. For against your will you were created; against your will you live; against your will you will die; and against your will you will be judged by the King of kings…
Why would anyone think that the afterlife is an “escape”? And what does this have to do with the fact that we are created and we die against our will?
One of the most common ills that plague people is the tendency to blame other people. Husbands blame wives; wives blame husbands. Republicans blame Democrats; Democrats blame Republicans. Teachers blame students; students blame teachers.
When†things†don’t†work†out¨†there’s†always†someone or something to blame. It’s society’s fault. It’s technology’s fault. It’s his fault. It’s her fault. It’s the parents. It’s the kids. It’s always someone or something.
The reason we do this is because we all feel worried about whether or not our lives are a success. People are insecure about their success†as†parents¨†as†children¨†as†bread†winners¨†as†professionals¨†as†religious†Jews¨†or as a million other things. And the thought that it’s “my fault” is too hard to accept. It’s a terrible feeling to think that we’re not a success and it’s our fault.
But the proper perspective is to focus not on whom†or†what†to†blame¨†but†on†how†to†move†forward¨†what†to†do†about†itÆ†Even†when†we’re†right¨†and†it†REALLY†IS†SOMEBODY†ELSE’S†FAULT¨†we†should†focus†on†where†we†go†from†here¨†on†doing†the best we can.
When†we†blame†others¨†we†come†across†as†very weak. When we focus on doing the best†we†can¨†we†come†across†as†strong†and†inspiring.
The Mishnah is teaching us that we should not†think†that†after†we†leave†this†world¨†we†can escape from accountability by blaming our lack of success on other people. It’s not going to work that way.
The reason is that even though things happen†to†us†in†life†against†our†will¨†and†there†are many things that we do not want and did not†choose¨†we†also†leave†this†world†against†our will. When our life is in any sort of danger¨†we†suddenly†drop†all†our†complaints†and desperately want our lives to continue. We will not be able to cast the blame on the circumstances in our lives – because when all†is†said†and†done¨†we†like†our†life¨†and†we†don’t ever want to give it up.
So†let’s†stop†the†blame†gameÆ†Our†lives†aren’t†all†that†badÆ†Sure¨†there†are†things†we†don’t like. But that’s not a good enough reason to blame others and not take responsibility.
Blaming†is†not†helpful¨†and†it†prevents†us†from working to make our lives better. When we stay focused on what we need to do¨†without†complaining†and†without†blaming¨†we†spread†happinessÆ†We†uplift†and†inspire the people around us.
We don’t choose everything in our lives. It’s never going to be exactly what we wanted. But that’s ok. Rather than complain about and blame everything on what we don’t like in†our†lives¨†let†us†make†the†most†of†it†and†spread happiness and contentment all around us.