The Difference Between Accountability and Victim Blaming
Updated: Dec 4, 2019
One concept that is easing into humanity’s collective consciousness is a concept that I refer to as “Accountability.” In order to discuss this concept, I must be clear on my meaning, since much confusion surrounds the word. The best way to do this is to define, and then contrast this word to another misused word – “Responsibility.”
Accountability, as I use the word, refers to the idea that I create my world, moment by moment, experience by experience. All of it - My bad experiences, my mistakes, my successes and my failures. This is an important shift in perspective, since from this space, I can begin to focus on the source of my experiences in life – myself. From this space, mistakes are opportunities to learn, results are feedback, and upgrading my understanding of, and connection to, source is where my focus and energy goes. From this space I can never be a victim. Accountability is extremely empowering, but at the same time gives you no way out. For this to work, however, you must let go of one very important stumbling block – Guilt. You don’t get to blame others for your life experience, but you also don’t get to blame yourself! If life is an opportunity for learning and growth, then mistakes are great news and feedback is valuable! Failure is just feedback, sending you “back to the drawing board” as it were and motivating you towards learning and growth! Yay!
For guilt, you must turn to “Responsibility”. Here is that space where duty, sacrifice and blame resides. Everything that happens is your fault, if you are the responsible one. Your needs are submerged for more “important” things, and the more sacrifice, the greater the ideal is met. You have no right to demand power here – you just have to somehow make it work, or it’s “your fault.” In its more extreme form, you must accept a place in life you did not ask for, duties and tasks assigned by another, and never, ever utter a complaint. You eventually realize that you have no real power, and exist as the scapegoat. Victims are born here, and remain trapped here until they realize that they, too, have a right to exist, to be happy, to even thrive! Mothers are ground to dust in this space. Fathers turn to alcohol. The only ones who are truly served are those who cynically take advantage of those whose integrity rests on this ideal.
And here’s where you run into trouble teaching about Accountability – as soon as you tell someone that they are the creators of their lives, they look at past traumatic experiences and instantly dive into guilt. They are taking one concept from Accountability – personal empowerment, and mixing it with a concept from Responsibility – guilt. You’re trying to get two incompatible concepts with entirely different energies to coexist. This is an extremely toxic place to be! “I’m the creator of all my life experiences and so now I’m to blame!” Any sane person would recoil from this as an ideal. It’s completely unsustainable. Unfortunately, blame, shame and guilt are so deeply ingrained in our society that it can seem almost impossible to view life without their discoloration.
Perhaps an illustration might help.
Someone has treated you very badly. Your old way of being points at that other person and says “you are a jerk!” From there you go to finding someone else to commiserate with, and together you discuss all the amazing shortcomings, faults and failings of this person. You think you feel better. Actually, you feel disempowered…because, really, there’s nothing you can do about that person and who they are. Ultimately, we yield very little power over others – who they truly are, and what they will do next. We can inspire others, but we can’t force them to change…and that’s actually a good thing! Some call that “free will choice” and it’s integral to our place in the universe.
So, instead of doing that, you decide you are going to stand in a new place your guru told you about – Accountability. You are the creator of your life experiences, so now (you assume) you get to blame yourself! And wow, if you think a person can find fault with someone else, just wait until you and your ego go to town on your own shortcomings, faults and failings! There’s no blame that can compare to self-blame! So after beating the crap out of yourself, you can feel better knowing that you are now operating at a “higher plane.” Except you don’t feel better. You feel like crap, you can’t see how you’ll ever do better, and you have nothing to look forward to other than self-condemnation, failure and deep, dark depression. Again, you are disempowered.
Let’s try it without the blame game. You take a look at what happened from a space free of blame, devoid of guilt, clear of shame. You are curious. Carefully, you examine what really happened. Did I see this coming? Am I repeating a pattern in my own life? Did I contribute in any way? What was the lesson here? What can I take away and apply in a general way that will enrich my life going forward. How will I go forward in future interactions with this same person so that my boundaries are enforced and my own self respected? Here, you are in a space of reflection, questions, insights and growth. You get with others, and you are excited to tell them about the life lesson you learned! You might even laugh at yourself – how hilarious it is how long it took you to learn this lesson. You are excited to see something similar show up in your life so you can prove that you have mastered it and can transmute the experience into a positive one. It isn’t PollyAnna – it’s empowerment. Suddenly, those who you thought had power over you, don’t. Situations you felt helpless over disappear. Impossible hurdles dissolve. And if there’s anything that gets in the way of your success, that’s your next lesson, your next learning opportunity. It’s what’s next on the menu.
This is a simplistic example, I know. I make it sound easy for the purpose of the explanation, but I work with people regularly who are in the process of releasing the old energies, the old scripts, and the old ways of thinking. It is anything but easy. It’s particularly difficult when dealing with trauma that occurred at a very young age, and to do that requires looking at the possibility of past lives, life contracts, and even the nature of time itself!
However, I think the world has seen enough of the ravages of blame and shame. Weaponized guilt destroys all before it, and one need only take a cursory glance at our country’s politics, economics and society to see this. Frankly, the way we are treating each other is appalling! It’s concepts that are rising up now, like Accountability, that are pointing the way to something better. When you take accountability for your world, there is no longer a place for hate, killing and terror. For truly, all these things come first from that place within us, where we torture, hate and kill ourselves. We will be kind to others when we start being kind to ourselves.
I love you all!