Blame is probably one of the dirtiest words in the English language. Everyone looks for it, everyone takes it and everyone deals with it, but no one likes to talk about it. Even though we're a world of people pointing fingers, our mouths are silent even as our fingers are outstretched.
No, it's not something we like to talk about, it's not something we like to think about and it's not something we like to deal with. But everytime something goes wrong, there's the issue: Who to blame? What to blame? Where does the error lie? Of what fault is this?
Some people like to internalize the blame, taking everything that goes wrong around them and immediately assuming it's their fault. It can be easier that way, it makes us proactive and puts us in a position where the world makes sense and we can do something to prevent bad things in the future. It's as if by shoveling the blame upon our own shoulders we place ourselves in the driver's seat, controlling our own destiny exclusively and totally.
Others, however, like to blame the world. It's easier for them to maintain their own image of perfection and believe that they are the victims of the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and nothing more. They remove themselves from fault and instead cast stones wherever they can be laid, placing the blame and their own destiny on whatever shoulders they can find.
The truth, of course, lies somewhere in between. We are captains of our own destiny, this is for certain, but the world still moves around us, independent of our own actions and thoughts. even though the percentage of each can vary wildly, nothing in our lives happens without some degree of fault on both parts. It's a complete and total impossibility as our lives are impacted by both sets of choices.
All we can do is make the best decisions we can and hope for the best outcomes possible. When things go wrong, assigning blame is only useful as far as it teaches us lessons and helps us prevent future catastrophes. The minute we begin looking for scapegoats or placing an unreasonable burden upon ourselves we cease doing any good and start causing more harm, deepening the the tragedy and rubbing salt into very fresh wounds.
Now does this mean that murderers should not go to jail or robbers should not be punished? Of course not. They deserve their blame and they deserve their punishment. In fact, they are usually among the first to blame the world for the tragedies they brought upon themselves, unwilling to look for fault in their own decisions and, instead, content on examining the faults of the world around them.
However, it does mean that we need to look at our own actions and what we can do to prevent such things from happening to us. We need to learn how to make decisions to avoid the pitfalls of life. But at the same time, we need to realize that, often, the best decisions have the worst outcomes and that there's no point in blaming ourselves for doing only what we thought was best.
You see, the same as blame is a fluid balance between ourselves and the outside world, so must our conscience. Simply put, the greatest reward in life isn't leading a perfect life where nothing goes wrong, but to be able to look back at the life you had and realize that you always made the best decisions you could at the time.
Because even if hindsight is 20/20, blaming ourselves for good decisions made in blurred forsight, does no more good than blaming the world for bad decisions that we ourselves made.
After all, life is supposed to be a learning process and that means both learning to improve and, most difficult of all, learning to accept.