In this week’s spotlight I wish to address the notion of blame. Years ago I conducted the first ever double blind study utilizing subliminal communication to change the behavior of an incarcerated population. We ran some fairly extensive psychometric tests but discovered nothing new. We had high scores in self and social alienation, but that was expected. The first phase of our study was to determine what sort of messages might change the attitudes and beliefs among inmates and thereby lower hostility levels, increase reflectivity, and if we were lucky even interrupt the recidivism rates.
We were working with younger offenders, 25 and under, incarcerated in a minimum security youth offenders facility. I gathered our volunteers and explained what the technology was and how it worked. By design, the affirmations on the technology would enter the inmate’s stream of consciousness, his self-talk, and this talk would become how he spoke to himself. Changing the way the inmate thought resulted in a change in his expectation, which in turn altered his perceptions—in the end, the world as he had known it would be different. After the explanation, I enjoyed the opportunity to visit with the inmates and it was then that I first discovered what became our magic bullet.
You see, when asked, the inmates typically rationalized their behavior away on the basis of blame. It wasn’t their fault. Excuses ranged from the dramatic such as my mommy was a prostitute, the neighbor mainlined me at age 12, my daddy was an alcoholic and so forth, to anger at society for the perceived injustices suffered by those born to poverty without hope of escaping through lawful means—or so some would say. Almost always these explanations were grossly exaggerated but they served as an explanation or justification for illegal behavior.
Blame is a confining perception. It is based on the belief that we are helpless victims. As long as we blame there is an implicit assumption that we remain victims. We are therefore disempowered from actions that may remove us from the victim role. Now please understand me, this is not in any way to suggest that there are not victims in the world, but it is to argue that so long as we choose to remain victims we are essentially unable to move on.
The Binds of Blame
There are multiple ways in this world to be tied up. Someone can bind us with rope or chain, but we can also choose to attach a thread to a doorknob, and refuse to pull it hard enough to break it, an action that essentially tethers us in place. Blame is one such thread that many refuse to break.
When we discovered this common mechanism among our youth offenders, we built affirmations around three messages, three magic messages if you will. Those three messages are, “I forgive myself. I forgive all others. I am forgiven.” Oh, we added a group of self-esteem building affirmations to boiler plate our forgiveness set but subsequent research has repeatedly verified the value of these three simple statements when internalized as a part of our own true belief.
The Magic of Forgiveness
The results of our study were so impressive that the prison system installed voluntary libraries throughout all of their facilities including maximum security. Indeed, the system we designed was eventually cloned out to other prisons where it performed as well. Bottom line—forgiveness is the key to letting go of blame. Once you surrender your need or addiction to blame, you find a whole new place where many things formerly impossible become possible. Making the impossible possible is something we can all do when we remove our own self-limiting beliefs. There is no belief in my mind more damaging than the idea that it’s okay to refuse to relinquish blame.
As always, thanks for the read and I appreciate your feedback.
NY Time Bestselling Author of Choices and Illusions
P.S. I developed a program for forgiveness that has helped very many people let go of blame. The program is titled Forgiving and Letting Go. It is available as a free download here: http://www.eldontaylor.com/forgiveness.html