Fourth key to conscious communication: Taking responsibility

If blame feels so good, why don’t I feel better? It’s driving me out of my mind.

If blame feels so good, why don’t I feel better? Not misery and pain all the time.

–Julia Colwell

In my foray into writing Country Western songs (I wrote three for our briefly formed band, “Everything in the Key of C”), I love that line the most. Because if blaming other people feels so good, why doesn’t it result in me actually feeling better?

I’ve found that giving up the blame and criticism habit (as first suggested by Gay and Katie Hendricks) is one of the toughest addictions to break. Even when people have a great deal of experience with the concept of taking responsibility, when we’re upset, looking at what we’re doing to keep a problem going is often the last thing we want to do. Finding the culprit (who usually isn’t us) and then punishing him or her is somewhat of a national pastime.

And–every time I blame, I give away my power. It’s that simple. It’s like handing the person I’m blaming my energetic checkbook. Because if it’s your fault, there’s nothing I can actually do to change what is happening. Well, sure–I can wheedle, cajole, bully, whine, manipulate, seethe, yell, withdraw, get passive aggressive, hoping that these behaviors will force you to stop doing the thing. But have you noticed that, no matter what you do, you don’t actually have a bit of control over changing someone else?

There’s a wonderful alternative to draining my energy away in the fruitless act of blaming.¬† I can take my power–the energetic checkbook–back by taking 100% responsibility for the issue. I can ask questions like, “how am I creating this?”, “what do I really want?” and “what’s an action step I can take right now to get what I want?” Sure, I have to give up the adrenaline buzz that righteousness provides. But what I get in return? I get to step back into the freedom of flow, the energy of true creation, and the exhilaration of real power.

2 thoughts on “Fourth key to conscious communication: Taking responsibility”

  1. Hm, I think “Everything in the Key of C” surely means “Everything in the Key of Consciousness”. Today this phrase crossed my mind: “She’s a good judge of character.”
    Sometimes I think I am misjudged, or somehow mis-represented or unknown–by another, of course. (perhaps by my Self, too) Labels are attached to me that I don’t even understand. I wonder where some people get their ideas. By being a “judge of character”? By something I have created? I wonder how much care, how much consciousness, is taken when getting to know another person, when trying to understand a situation. Blame cuts off any possibility of listening and understanding more about another person, a situation. Blaming stunts process. Blame throws a rod in the inter-relational engine, and we are thrown off the road and jerked to a stop.

    1. I love your metaphors, Suey! And, now that you’ve unearthed the real name of our band, I have the urge to get it back together again.

      I see judgment as another way to avoid having feelings. A terrific spiritual practice is to notice the judgment and look for the feeling underneath, notice the judgment and look for the feeling, notice the judgment…

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