FROM BLAME TO RESPONSIBILITY
we interpret what occurs around us. The way we interpret situations
affects how we behave.
For the past four years communication between
my brother, Jon, and I had gradually deteriorated. This was of
great sorrow to me. But it was all his fault. Throughout my
university career he never expressed an interest in what I was
doing. I interpreted this as meaning he did not care.
As a result I decided not to make an effort.
The relationship became so strained I could not bear to be in
his company. I resigned myself to the fact that we would never
have a close relationship. I was blind to an alternative and
washed my hands of the situation. It was not my fault so why
should I worry?
When we feel threatened, we get defensive.
The best form of self-defence is to believe oneself and blame
others. Isn't it just great when you know you are right!
To accept responsibility for my actions and admit fault was unthinkable.
I may have been safe in my own little cocoon
of self-righteousness but unlike the butterfly I was not displaying
my full colours. I felt incomplete and dissatisfied with life
in general. Sitting back blaming Jon, I was expecting him to
change or take action.
After realising the cost of this blame, I
decided to make the effort to express my love. I rang him and
had the most amazing conversation ever. After telling him how
I thought he did not care, he revealed that he thought I saw him
as a loser. He felt we had little in common. It was not that
he did not care. My interpretation was completely wrong.
I told him that I loved him. Such simple
words... why so hard to say? I almost had to choke them out!
In response he said, 'I love you too, and I really mean that'.
The sense of joy I felt was incredible. It was as if a lead
weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Until then I had no
idea how much this situation had affected my being. The frightening
thing is, I was prepared to settle for this poor relationship
for the rest of my life.
It is remarkable how this experience has affected
my other relationships. Two years ago I split up with a long-term
girlfriend. I blamed her for manipulating me into who she wanted
me to be. This was a persistent complaint of mine and a source
of great anger. The cost was huge. I could not express my love
for her. With subsequent girlfriends I was unable to commit beyond
a certain point for fear of being manipulated and losing my individuality.
I would end all relationships as soon as this fear came up.
My future was being controlled by the past.
I urge you not to be a victim who complains
the world has done you an injustice. Complaints keep the lid
on possibility. By removing the complaints from my life I have
been able to create alternative ways of being.
These experiences have taught me that to make
a difference I must change myself. By doing so I have witnessed
others change around me.
Tim Vaughan, UK