Systemic change is the need of the hour

Only Systemic Change in our body-mind systems can help us survive as individuals and as a nation, says Minnu Bhonsle

Blame vs. responsibility

We also need to stop blaming others and take responsibility.

Blame and responsibility are often confused. Blame is moralistic, unnecessary, unhelpful and unproductive. It carries with it a moral stigma, and suggests that not only did you cause something to happen, but that you should be condemned and punished for it. No one wants to feel this way, and therefore, the fear of such blame, tempts us to deny all accountability. Blaming and shaming someone makes us defensive and thus offensive, so nothing productive can ensue from it.
Self-blame leads to guilt. When we engage in self-bashing, we tend to repeat the same action, because we have already spent time blaming ourselves rather than on learning from our mistakes. When we punish ourselves, we feel penance is now over, and feel free to slide back into our comfort zones, to behave the same way again. Thus, blame creates a vicious cycle, and no change happens.

Blaming others leads to anger and a knee-jerk reaction based on the anger. Anger and rage cloud reason and the reaction only invite a counter-reaction, with again no real problem-solving taking place. As a result, blame retards change, correction, learning, growth and progress. Therefore, a blaming culture will never lead to sustainable change.
Responsibility however, is a very mature, useful, and growth-oriented concept. Taking responsibility and allocating responsibility, brings with it new and more matured ways of thinking and acting. It is stepping into the unknown and out of our comfort zones. Responsibility results in change, correction, learning, growth and progress.
Moving out of the familiar territory of our comfort zones may temporarily increase our physical and emotional discomfort, but we must know that it is a long-term permanent solution to our problems.

A tragedy such as the terror attacks can either be a unifying force or a divisive one, depending on whether we want to blame or take responsibility. A ‘blaming culture’ is deeply divisive, as different sections of the society get more selfish about their own comforts, preservation, and profits, and pass the buck on to someone else for any lapses, thus avoiding introspecting their own actions.
On the other hand, a ‘responsibility culture’, could be extremely unifying, as different sections of society introspect, take their share of responsibility for their own lapses due to their own individualistic selfish comforts and profits.
What goes around comes around—we are responsible for being the co-creators of a divisive culture of comfort and blame, which has now come back to haunt us in the form of terror attacks. We have allowed ourselves to be divided and ruled—divided by ourselves, ruled by terrorists.
We need to decide whether we want to be a part of a culture of blame and comfort, or a culture of responsibility and change. The choice is ours.
Here is how systemic change is required in every strata of our society:

Minnu Bhonsle
Dr Minnu R Bhonsle, PhD, is a Mumbai-based consulting psychotherapist and counsellor. She conducts training programmes in Personal Counselling [Client-centred Therapy] and Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, and also workshops in Stress Management, Art of Listening, Couple Therapy, and Communication Skills. Minnu has co-authored the book, The Ultimate Sex Education Guide along with Dr Rajan Bhonsle.


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