- Thoughts for inspired living

A person filled with anger focuses on whose fault it is rather than seeking a solution - Grasshopper

Blame is a universal dysfunction of the human mind. The underlying notion of blame is that a set of circumstances has to be someone’s fault. The natural offshoot of that idea is that someone has to pay. And one of the built in protection mechanisms we have determines that the person paying the tab will not be me.

That’s when the anger creeps in and we go looking for a scapegoat. Even if we are the one who is clearly the cause of our own catastrophe, our first response is to see if we can get out of the jam unnoticed.

Pretend you are in a supermarket parking lot. You are not paying attention and you open your car door without looking. The result is a ding to the unoccupied car next to yours. What is the response you have right after your initial shock? Most people immediately look around quickly to see if anyone saw them. It’s a conditioned response based on fear that instantly sends us a message of escape.

This fear may then turn to anger. “Why did they park so close to the line?” Or the rant may sound like this, “I am such an idiot for not looking.” The very next action you take will either be the jump-off point to fitful fury or the first step toward finding a remedy.

Sad to report that, most often, the next action is a finger pointing fit that fills the air quicker than a summer lightning storm. Whether the finger points inward or outward is immaterial. The result of either will be an exercise in anger which keeps you focused on fault. The search for a solution can never happen while we are cooking in this stew.

The solution is recognition and the quicker the better. The earlier you notice that you are in a thought loop that’s going nowhere, the faster you will dispel your diatribe and concentrate on a resolution.

The key to avoiding counter-productive, automated behavior is to get a wedge between stimulus and response as early in the game as possible. Begin to train yourself to notice you are in a thought loop. Just this simple act of noticing is enough of a wedge to keep you from going over the edge.

The wedge is always recognition. Recognition keeps stimulus and response apart long enough so that another more productive response has an opportunity to show up, be noticed and acted upon.

All the best,

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