This is a guest post by Peter Taylor, author of Zen Mister.
When things go wrong it is always handy to have somebody to blame. If your friend throws a rock through a window and you get blamed for it, you will feel awful. That circumstance is filled with injustice, misperception, inaccuracy, and real consequences. There are so many compelling reasons to feel awful when you get the blame for something you didn’t do.
Although it is reasonable to feel awful, get upset, angry and try to place the blame where it rightly belongs, the emotions that arise in response to the misplaced blame are all your responsibility. You can only blame yourself for having that reaction. You can still blame your friend for breaking the window, but you can only blame yourself for your own emotions. Blaming yourself for getting upset, angry, sad, afraid or depressed is not helpful with regular blame.
Regular blame makes you feel worse. It creates suffering on top of suffering. Blameless blame is recognizing your own agency in your reactions. It is a compassionate recognition that actively sooths the sting of difficult emotions. If you practice blamelessly blaming yourself for your moods, thoughts and feelings, you can change your habit of blaming others for your quality of life. You can take control of your life. Quality of life is how happy or content you are in any circumstance. If you practice blaming others for your emotional responses, you will never find the source of your own strength.
If you practice watching how you participate in the process of emotions arising in you, you can create happiness for yourself even when circumstances are unfavorable. If you are ever tempted to blame another for your emotional response, blamelessly blame yourself. When you feel happy, blamelessly take credit for that too.