Today, I intend to have a conversation about faults. In this context, when I use the word “fault”, it is not to define blame. However, we as people inter-relating to one another tend to find fault in each other. It is common to look at a situation and say, “It’s not my fault”. This assesses blame but it also intimates the existence of a flaw. In other words, a problem has come up and due to an error, we can qualify the issue and possibly correct it, based on some faulty behavior.
This works well if we are studying industrial technologies, but not so well when dealing with our interpersonal relationships. You see, when we assign fault to someone or something, we have made them or it devalued or wrong. Faulty in some regard and therefore, not working properly. They have malfunctioned in some way. It makes things very easy but at the same time, we don’t get a chance to understand or gain power within a relationship. By assigning blame or stating a fault, we end the brain power needed to continue to analyze the situation. More over, we have placed that person, thing or circumstance in a default position of being problematic.
Let me explain; if a child arrives home with a report card that has a failing or sub-par grade in math, he or she shares it with their parents. The child knows that they could have done much better and they are ready for the consequences. Upon review the mother states that she was not good at math either. The student is now off the hook and for no other reason than the mother has stated such. But, the child and the mother have ended the possibility of improvement. The brain is a funny thing in that, if it doesn’t have to work on something, it won’t! And in this case, the parent was the one who shut down.
Now this is a broad generalization, but understand that we have the power to continue to work through an issue or we can assign fault and stop all thought. What are the child’s expectations as he or she reaches adulthood? “I am not good at math and neither will my children be” So, when the check bounces, “It’s not my fault”. When I fail to stick with a budget, “It’s not my fault”. When the kids are not doing well in school, “It’s not my fault”.
Plainly put, if we choose to assign fault, the brain will accept the results without question. That’s just the way it is.
You Get What You Give
When we choose to look at life through the lenses of fault and blame, we tend to get more of what we find problematic. For instance, the child received a poor grade in math. They were reprogramed to accept the mediocrity. As an adult the same issues kept arising. And, as a parent, were ready to accept the same for their children. The blame and fault permeate our lives if we choose to allow them to do so. And the patterns repeat because the brain has been signaled to give up. We have told our brain to allow the problem to exist and remain, because we have reigned ourselves to “That’s just the way it is”.
As I said before, the brain is a funny thing. It works to protect us at every turn. It keeps us from walking into traffic, from getting burned on a hot stove, or from a bad relationship. The brain will work endlessly on a problem until solved. But tell it to quit working because “That’s just the way it is”, and voilà, end of discussion, no more to do, the problem is solved!
And How is Any of This My Fault?
It’s not your fault at all, but I wanted to give you the distinction. You see, if we think of people in our lives as having faults, our brains are trained through language to see them as defective, flawed or malfunctioning. Have you ever heard someone say, “I love him despite all his faults”? This is an indication that, although in love, assignment of defects had occurred and will continue to manifest itself throughout the relationship.
More than that, just look at the person for who they are. They are who they are and nothing more. Put another way, they are without fault, they just are who and how they are. Nothing more and certainly nothing less.
You see, a person is the way they are and we can either choose them or not. But consider, if we choose to be with a person despite their faults, there will come a time when, by assigning such fault, that is all we will see in them, their faults. And really they are just being themselves.
She would be perfect if she could just cook. He would be great if only he would talk more. And as soon as these “faults” are fixed, we’ll move on to the next one and the one after that. Why? Because the “fault” is what we are concentrating on. We have not accepted the person for them, rather we have expected to “fix” the problem and the problem is always there for us.
Acceptance begins with seeing another person as they are and nothing more. He is not a good husband despite his faults, he is simply a good husband. She is not a great mother despite her faults, she is only a great mother.
So the question is, “How is any of this my fault?” Ponder this, maybe it’s not a fault at all, it’s just a way of being.
Love with no shame and ask with no fear