When something terrible happens, I noticed that all the blamers seem to surface almost instantly. I was thinking of the parents of the little boy in the city of Orlando who was dragged to his death by an alligator. Is there any bigger nightmare?! People are criticizing them because there is a sign that says “No Swimming” even though the kid was just hanging out near the edge. It really could have happened to anyone. We’ve played on that shore many times. But people really seem to take comfort in assigning blame in these scenarios.
“Blame is the discharging of discomfort and pain.”—Brené Brown
Situations like this freak us out because they are so horrible and make things feel so wildly out of control. I was thinking last night how our first instinct is to try to pin it on someone so we can feel better. We need to feel in control again…I know, let’s blame someone. If the parents are to blame, that means it can’t happen to us because we would nevvvvver do what they did. We would make a waaaay different decision than they did. Except we might not.
Having no control is scary. And that makes us super uncomfortable. So instead of seizing the opportunity for empathy, we get caught up in the blame game. Blame is not the same as accountability. Accountability is expressing a feeling or establishing a boundary and less about judging.
We all play the blame game. Funny animated video about it below.