Are You “At Fault” Or Are You “Responsible”? - Grasshopper
I believe we benefit greatly by making a distinction between "it's my fault" and "I'm responsible."
Patterns of behavior are so interesting to me and how they began is even more interesting. Let's look at the genesis of two patterns that many men and women have - shaving and applying lipstick or lip gloss.
Ask a man which side of his face he shaves first. Most don't know until they visualize shaving and then they tell you where the process begins - left, right, chin, above the lip, etc. Ask a woman which lip she makes up first - top or bottom? Again, most often, a quizzical look comes over them and then they answer. They are unaware of a pattern they execute on a regular basis.
The next question I ask is: "Did the lipstick tube or razor come with a set of instructions that showed you where to begin the process?" The answer is "No." You started doing something a certain way and got used to doing it that way and the pattern automates itself to the point that you don't even know that you have that pattern.
Is it your fault that you make up your top lip first or begin by shaving the left side of your face? No, it's conditioning that you're unaware of.
We have tons of conditioning that we got by accident. Do you have the same religion as your parents? Did you have any say about being brought up in that religion? The beliefs and tenets became a part of you well before you knew what a tenet or a belief was. The same is true for the "right" way to hang toilet paper. We have lots of conditioning that we had no fault in getting.
I've had hundreds of thousands of people come to weight loss seminars and most of them believe it's their fault that they are fatter than they want to be. They don't realize the amount of conditioning they received about food and beverage consumption that got into their belief system by accident. The same is true for attitudes about money, sex and everything else under the sun.
So is it your fault that you're fatter than you want to be? "No." Are you responsible? "Yes."
It's not your fault if you don't realize what's driving the behavior, but you are responsible for the results. Sounds like a sticky wicket doesn't it?
We may get a pass for being ignorant but we don't escape responsibility.
Becoming aware of your conditioning puts you on the road to responsibility. The word "responsible" is best described as the ability to respond. You aren't able to respond to something you're unaware of; you just unconsciously react the way you've been conditioned to.
Once you discover the pattern that's driving your behavior and then continue to engage in that behavior, then it's your fault.
Here's one of the downsides of discovering your conditioning: It's my experience that many people stay stuck on the reasons that they are the way they are, offering one justification after another. They haven't taken the next step towards responsibility. They get caught up in the cause of their behavior and remain helpless because they choose not to respond. That's when their behavior is their fault.
The blame game has to end once you know how it began, otherwise you voluntarily stay in reaction mode and don't take the initiative to respond.
You are not at fault for much of your conditioning but you are responsible for the results. That means that once you have the awareness that you have the ability to respond differently to a stimulus and choose not to be responsible, it's your fault.
All the best,
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