Tag Archives: intentions

Who Can We Blame?

As a follow-up to my recent blog about the amazing personal journey of Gayle Kirschenbaum and her mother that will be available to all of us in her upcoming movie, “Look at Us Now, Mother”, I wanted to post this personal question I got from a parent a long time ago.

Q. I am currently reading your book, “When Your Kids Push Your Buttons” and have a question on something I read. The section called Parent-Blame didn’t sink in with me and I’m hoping you can clarify. It says, “Your parents did the best they could given the knowledge and circumstances they had at the time.” It sounds like we should hold blameless those parents who just don’t do right by their children. On a more personal level, what if my mother had thought to herself as she was parenting that there must be a better way to do this, but, dammit, I have 7 children and it’s just too hard, or, this is the way my mother raised me, so therefore, this is how I am going to raise my daughter. Does that mean she’s still blameless for everything she chose to do or not do? It’s like saying we have to forgive all the previous generations for how they parented, but our generation is to be more accountable – I am accountable. But shouldn’t my mother and her mother have taken responsibility for themselves? I didn’t have an opportunity to share my concerns with my mother as she passed away 8 years ago and had a debilitating mental illness since I was 16. It’s a fact that she did not do right by me and treated me differently than my siblings. But even my forgiving her doesn’t release her from the responsibility she had or hold her blameless.

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Self-Acceptance Must Come Before Change

Sick of making New Year’s resolutions only to forget what they were a month down the road? Why is it that we start the year with all good intentions to get organized, lose weight, be a better parent, relax more, join that gym, etc. only to once again fail so we can beat ourselves up and tell self-deprecating jokes about that resolution that never came to pass?

The reason is because we set ourselves goals rather than taking a hard look below to see what we need in order to do what we want. Goals are external motives and work only as long as our internal intentions are connected to the goals. As the saying goes, our hearts must be in it. But it’s not really our hearts that drive our follow-through. It’s what lies in our unconscious—what we really believe about ourselves, and what accomplishing that goal would really mean.

Dr. Michael Bader of the Institute for Change said in his article on Huffington Post, “The reason that New Year’s resolutions don’t work is that we have unconscious resolutions not to change. For every conscious resolution to lose weight, stop drinking, save money, call your Mom more often, control your temper, or finish that project, there are unconscious commitments to keep things exactly the way they are.”

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