IT WASN’T ME…


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IT WASN’T ME…

Ever find yourself in a tight spot? Ever made a mistake?

Here are three tips to make you feel less awful: run for your life, hide under a rock, or find someone to blame.

Okay, so the first two options are hardly sustainable, but you gotta admit the third one works like a reflex—you don’t even have to think about it! After all, isn’t it so much easier to say it wasn’t your fault than endure the wrath of your mom, face the scolding of your teacher, deal with the anger of your boss, or bear the stink-eye of your friend, brother, or sister?
So much easier, indeed, and it feels better, too, however short-lived it may be. (And then the guilt kicks in.) When someone asks “Whoddunit?” It’s almost instinctual to reply with, “Dunno, but not me,” because it certainly is very difficult to admit that you did something wrong.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) defines this state of mind as operating at effect—meaning we perceive ourselves as having little or no control over the situation and instead attribute our state to outside factors.

It simply goes back to the core of every situation we get into: OURSELVES.

As the phrase implies, this is our tendency to focus on the effect of the situation. Given that the situation is an undesirable one, we then try to make ourselves feel better by passing the blame, finding fault, pointing fingers, pulling a Pontius Pilate, you name it.

Being at effect touches on a number of things, including: sense of responsibility, control over the situation, recognizing one’s options, and decision-making, but for now let’s focus on the first.

Responsibility is a heavy word. Most people do not want to be burdened by it, but then if we look at history, signs point to: nothing good comes out of it.
Case in point: Adolf Hitler.

Hitler, one of the most notorious tyrants ever recorded, was responsible for the Holocaust—the mass killing of around six million Jews in Germany (and in other parts of the Europe). Why? He needed someone to blame. Germany was experiencing an economic decline at this time of his regime, and he saw an opportune scapegoat. He convinced the vast majority of Germans that the Jews were responsible for their continuing downfall, and in order to rise again, they must “purify their race” by killing those whose threatened to “contaminate” their blood.

That is undoubtedly one of the worst fault-finding scenarios known to man.
Watch the local news and more examples abound. Our country has a problem of corruption, who accepted illegal money from the government and where did it go? Oh, I don’t know, says Mr. Bigshot Congressman, ask my secretary, she’s the one who handles the paperwork.

Let’s not look far and see if these lines seem familiar:

If only my parents understood me better then I will work harder to get good grades.

If only my sister/friend/partner/colleague would help me with this, this never would have happened/things would be better/ life would be great.

Chances are, we’ve said one of those lines once before because, well, we all make mistakes. Bad things happen and they cause negative emotions, but blaming others will not make them un-happen, so what should we do?

NLP has the answer.

Fair warning, though: It requires a lot of practice. But it works wonders.

Instead of dwelling on the effect of every negative situation and being stuck there, why not try the opposite: being at cause. Now, the word itself sounds like the beginning of an excuse (a short cut for “because”), but it’s interesting how NLP has made it the total opposite of living a life of blame and excuses. It simply goes back to the core of every situation we get into: OURSELVES.

So here’s the drill: Bad stuff happens—could be a bad decision, an honest mistake, a fib, a misdemeanor, an offense. Start blaming others—parents, siblings, friends, dead relatives, poor pets, or even the universe in all its wide unknowable glory. STOP. Close your eyes, breathe in, and tap into your inner superpower. See, this is the bit we often forget. That the power is within us. Cliché as it may sound, we have control over every situation. We may not be able control the effect of the situation, but we can control our RESPONSE to it. So open your eyes, and with your superhero cape flapping behind you, ask yourself how the wrong can be made right.

This is at the heart of operating at cause: Understanding that unfortunate circumstances are not the fault of others, but ours, and that’s a hard truth to take BUT we can ALWAYS move on from it. We have options. We can change our condition. Conversely, we recognize that happiness, success, and the good things in life will not depend on others, but on us.

J. Michael Straczynski, award-winning American writer/producer whose work includes The Amazing Spider-Man and Thor, powerfully sums it up: “People spend too much time finding other people to blame, too much energy finding excuses for not being what they are capable of being, and not enough energy putting themselves on the line, growing out of the past, and getting on with their lives.”

Neuro Linguistic Programming

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Cherry Africa

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