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The Log and the Speck

You may be familiar with the phrase “pay attention to the log in your own eye before looking at the speck in your brothers” ( or sisters, or spouse’s, or worker’s etc. )

While that can certainly be interpreted in myriad ways, essentially what it means is look at yourself first before you start wagging a blaming finger at someone else.

Of course it is much easier to point and blame outside of ourselves. Some people have made that their life’s work to point fingers, blame others, shift responsibility, avoid accountability and go on their merry way.

While that may be our first inclination since we humans are hard wired to move away from pain (any kind of pain real or perceived) owning up and looking at ourselves first is what is needed if we are going to enjoy good healthy, safe and satisfying relationships both at home and at work.

Some of us play the blame game because we’ve had some consistent modeling in watching a close family member avoid responsibility or lash out when something goes wrong.

If we see that behavior repeated as we are growing up it is likely that we will follow suit as it maps our brain and appears “normal”. Since most of us don’t grow up in four, five or six households, whatever we see and experience growing up we come to believe is normal, even if it is detrimental to our relationships.

Additionally, some people are unable to hear that THEY may be at fault; may have made a poor choice, zigged when they ought to have zagged and have a hard time hearing truth even from people they know and trust.

If we were raised by a perfectionistic parent, we learn early on that to feel accepted and acceptable, we must do nearly everything exactly “right”. Often perfectionistic parents have a low tolerance for their child to do anything differently from how they would do it.

Making a mistake with a parent who behaves in a critical or judgmental way will train a child that if something goes wrong, blame the nearest person!

Sometimes this is all it takes to form a lifetime of looking outside of ourselves for someone to pin the blame on.

While that may serve one for awhile by keeping oneself out of trouble, when this develops into a lifelong pattern it really can wreak havoc in relationships.

The reality is we all blow it from time to time. We all zig when zagging was clearly the best choice. Rather than look outside of ourselves for someone to blame, avoiding the shame and conflict we have experienced, looking inward is the place we need to go.

When we look inward, we can begin to be curious, ask ourselves questions and learn to understand ourselves better.

Only then can we both show up with compassion for ourselves and embrace that we also have a growth or learning opportunity as well that is completely unavailable to us when we are in survival mode trying to avoid what we don’t want.

This week begin to look at when, how often and under what circumstances you are looking at someone else as the problem, the issue, or the person you can pin blame onto.

Ask yourself what it is you are trying to avoid by continuously looking at external circumstances and people as the culprit in whatever is not going right or well.

At work begin to show up and take full responsibility for your work, performance, and all your interactions with others. Are you a leader in the workplace? Do you show up acting like a servant leader- taking full responsibility when you make a decision that does not pan out well?

Or, do you blame your team, your suppliers, your competition or something else?

Taking a deeper dive inward can be a difficult thing to do, and you may continue to avoid it at all costs. However, if you are ready to show up differently, with yourself and then others, it will be a necessary excursion. Be kind to yourself as you begin to assess how often you blame and point fingers, versus how often you show up and take full responsibility.

The latter creates a person that can be counted on. When we hold ourselves accountable, we behave in trustworthy ways. When we show up trustworthy in our relationships and in our business or workplace, it all goes better. Work on getting the “log out of your own eye” before attempting to examine the speck in someone else’s. You just may discover how much your life, health and relationships improve when you are no longer focused on what every one else is doing or not doing and taking responsibility for that which is yours to own.


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