Shedding the Shield of Blame And Exposing a Deeper Understanding
As my comprehension of dopamine, the brain, human behavior and disease deepen, my beliefs around all of it expand. As it is, I’m just as human as everyone else which means I’m prone to blame; yet, what I’ve discovered through my research and work is that this level of negative thinking keeps us stuck in dis-ease. Think about that for just a moment … dis-ease a.ka. lack of ease …. and when we’re in the space of blame, we’re uneasy about a certain person, place or thing. Essentially, all blame does is keep the distress alive, which for all intents and purposes becomes nothing but a firestorm of discomfort; mentally, emotionally as well as physically.
Like I said, we all do it. I hear it every day..... regardless. Traffic, weather, negative bank transaction, health …. it’s ALL because of something or someone else. And in some cases, we can be pretty brutal about it, blaming a person’s socioeconomic status, religious belief or theories about life. We are rarely, if ever, easy about anything … this goes for ourselves as much as it does with another person. And even when we smile and say, ‘it’s all good’, there’s still something deep down inside that thinks differently. In all honesty, saying, ‘no worries’ or ‘it is what it is’ without really meaning it is aggravating to everyone around. First of all, the person delivering the message is out of integrity with him or herself and knows it; therefore, a certain amount of discomfort is felt. Secondly, everyone else can feel the dishonesty even if they don’t know that the individual is not speaking their truth …. the uneasiness is palpable. And it’s this discomfort that antagonizes and agonizes all of us. No one is immune to this … we are sensitive beings; however, I’m not referring to emotionally at this point. I mean we are more than capable of sensing when something is ‘on the mark’ or ‘off’. Our challenge is actually paying attention to and following these feelings rather than reacting to the discomfort which is what we typically do.
When it comes to such health concerns as Autism or Parkinson’s Disease, we blame the environment and other entities. When we talk about addiction or diabetes, we find fault with a person’s lifestyle choices and genes; although, a person living with diabetes isn’t cast out of a family because of their condition. It’s simply accepted as a part of life. However, with addiction often comes isolation as family and social dynamics change as well as thoughts and beliefs about what is going on. What’s more, resentments and anger tend to escalate due to misunderstanding what and why this is happening …. even with the mention of it being genetic. People living with addiction and/or some other mental / emotional instability are actually blamed for their condition; so much so that we now have a rather large population of people devoted to not only raising awareness but ending the stigma and actually trying to prove that mental and emotional health issues are worthy of compassion and understanding. Just typing those words upsets me … probably because I’ve spent most of my life feeling like I’ve had to prove that I was deserving of love. You might scoff at this and wonder who I might be blaming?! I don’t blame you (you know I had to say that!!) and I mean it. Good question; and the truth is, I blamed myself. From my interpretation, love was bestowed upon the good; so, in order to receive it, I had to be good. As it was, I had plenty of evidence to prove that I was ‘bad’. I realize it’s possible to think I may have been blaming my parents .. maybe I did… it’s a chore distilling all of my thoughts and emotions. What I do know, though, is I lived in a state of blame and through that dis-ease, I sought comfort. If you want to point fingers or question and judge my choices, that’s certainly your right; however, let’s be honest, you seek comfort too when distressed! It’s human nature to self-soothe. Our choices just differ .. maybe it’s shopping, doing art, exercise, watching tv, playing video games, food (eating, cooking, baking) .. it could be passing time with your smartphone or, or, or … you get the idea. Regardless, the way stress affects someone and how they choose to relieve it is nobody else’s business. It only becomes our business when the other person brings it to our attention …….
This happens to be the foundation for why I do what I do and why I say what I say. The way I see it because our attention is predictably fixed on behavior and circumstance, we allow blame and judgment to adversely hold us back. While you may disagree with my use of the word ‘allow’, please keep in mind that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In this case, being hyper-focused on what we see with our eyes, creates a gap for interpretation and unfortunately, we’ve produced a culture that consistently jumps to the negative. The only way to change this is to acknowledge that there is definitely more going on than meets the eye, and what that is cannot always be distinguished …. and that is ok. We don’t have to know everything; we just need to understand that not everything is as it appears. Why someone says or does what they do is complex and not for us to judge; regardless of how unsafe. Just because it doesn’t work for you doesn’t mean it’s not working for them. Obviously it is; otherwise, they would stop.
It’s not easy to look at life from this vantage point; yet, the relief that’s available to all of us is immense! Using a descriptive like safe | unsafe | works | doesn’t work actually leaves room for the unknown AND it eliminates the toxicity of negativism.
From my perspective, we’re all doing the best we can with what we’re given. I don’t agree with everyone’s choices; yet, I believe this with all my heart ESPECIALLY since I made understanding people my mission. Notice I didn’t say behavior … our ways of navigating and managing life are unique and equally complicated; although, untangling them doesn’t have to be the goal. To put it simply, no matter what a person is going through or doing, the only difference between me and you is 1) the way we’re genetically wired and 2) the way we interpret the circumstances (which has a lot to do with the neurochemistry). I’d like to use the idea of being programmed by our culture and while there may be some validity to that thought, I don’t fully agree with it. I do believe we adopt behaviors when we see they work for someone else; however, we have our own minds and the power to notice when something isn’t working or no longer serves our needs. We have the ability to change anything and everything; the only obstacle stopping us is our objection, doubt and/or shame.
I hear so many reasons why someone can’t make a change; either they can’t remember to do it, it’s too hard to do or at least it’s not illegal. The most painful explanation, though, is the one around shame because it embodies the blame and judgment of everyone; from family, culture and community to the individual. And trust me, no one is immune to stigma.
I’ve been working with the Amish communities for nearly 5 years now and before saying anything else, it’s been an absolute honor to be welcomed in and trusted. Therefore, out of respect for their privacy, I won’t divulge their secrets. At the same time, I will say they have their issues just like everyone else, regardless of how strict they are. In fact, it’s this level of rigidity that I feel is bringing harm to their health. Truth be told, this is what I believe period …. no matter where we come from, rigid thinking generates dis-comfort and what we choose to do from there varies (as already discussed)
Last week, I published another video on mental health, the brain and essential oils. One of the points that I’m consistently making is that dis-ease is a sign that the body is working. As it goes with anything, you get what you focus on …… However, while still in the flow of these posts, I had a conversation with a 20-year-old client. Having spent 3 months last year in treatment for depression and anxiety, he started with me. His time at home was going quite well until the holiday season and then his doctor took him off one of his meds which happened to be a benzo. Needless to say, he found himself juggling sweets and highly caffeinated drinks. His description of the experience was a drastic shift from feeling up to all of a sudden crashing. What made it worse was his guilt and above all fear of having to go back to treatment. In fact, the entire conversation was preceded by a call from his mother telling me that he knew better than to eat such bad foods. I probably don’t have to tell you how many times he said should and shouldn’t. it was a veritable shame fest. After listening to all of their concerns and unspoken judgments, I went on to explain a couple things: 1) medications are targeted mechanisms of action, influencing any number of neurotransmitter and hormonal receptors. I went on to explain that as we direct the actions of one chemical, the body naturally redirects the other chemicals which is why I say there is no such thing as an imbalance. The body simply adjusts according to the information coming in. This is the case for all of us. 2) caffeine, sugar, food additives and such are some of those chemicals and 3) caffeine is actually listed in the DSM-V (which I explained to him). I went on to tell him that because it’s considered a nutrient, it’s not frowned upon; yet, has the ability to affect the body like all drugs whether they are prescription or illicit. For this reason, it’s advisable to use caution when consuming products with caffeine because of potential interactions with other medications. In fact, I encourage this mindset with all consumables; especially where additives are involved. NOW he had something …. He understood that there was more going on with him than he realized and NOW he had the power of choice. He also realized that he wasn’t being weak; he was self-medicating with things that filled the gap and oddly his ‘go-to’ options represented blame and judgment. Not his fault; it’s abundant and legal, giving the illusion of safety. In all honesty, this works until it doesn’t … it all depends on the individual. Not to mention, long-term redirection of the chemistry means some chemicals are not being wholly used which underscores thoughts of imbalance. Therein lies the reason for seeking a sense of balance.
So what does any of this mean? It means that each of us is synergistically supporting our very own nature in our own unique ways. There is nothing to blame or judge. My intentions are to OPEN us up to understanding so that we may begin making choices that serve our highest good; that allows us to rise above and live a life we desire and deserve. Too many of us engage in activities that prevent these things from happening and my belief is most of it stems from blame, shame, and judgment. Nature will always take its course; the advantage we have is awareness. We have at our disposal, the ability to notice what's working and what's not and making choices based on these observations. It's not about what anybody else thinks .. it's about what we think; it's about what matters to us. I can hear all the 'what if's' and 'buts'; so, let me just say this .. it's none of our business what anyone else is doing. If more people concerned themselves with them self, we wouldn't be having this discussion .....
By the way, shoulding all over one self does nothing but cause resistance and more toxic emotions.