Blame, Fault, and Guilt

“You can’t blame gravity for falling in love.” ─ Albert Einstein

After noticing that there is often confusion about the “blame game” by some of my clients within their interpersonal relations, I began to wonder about the differences betwixt and between blame, fault, and guilt.

Blame – Be Lame

“When people are lame they love to blame.” ─ Robert Kiyosaki

 When a person is blamed for something whether they did it or not they will feel diminished and their sense of self feels “lame.” When you are blamed this type of disapproval stresses a sense of being held liable. When one is blamed even accused of something the person can feel responsible when censured. Censure produces the feeling of being condemned. As a person sits within this feeling they are experiencing a felt sense of self-attack.

Fault

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
─Shakespeare: Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)

 When you feel at fault or told it is your fault the resulting self criticism is that of failure. To experience a feeling of failing or failure seems to imply a weakness or lack of ability to measure up to some standard that one is held to. Again this is a familiarity within an incident of self attack.

Guilt

“Guilt is anger directed at ourselves—at what we did or did not do…” ─Peter McWilliams

When you feel the sinking feeling of guilt, as the offender of some breach of a standard of conduct or a moral culpability, it stresses a guilty offense and not just a practical shortcoming. A person accepts guilt, decides that they are guilty. It is another self attack encounter through one’s own self criticism or judgment.

Perhaps these descriptions can help one recognize the practice of self attack or beating oneself up. It is possible to start catching yourself in these dynamics by being aware of your thoughts and feelings and then changing your mind and reframing the spin you tell yourself. As William James said, “If you can change your mind, you can change your life.”

© Ozimkiewicz


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