(It's All in the Dhammapada, Post 1)
Relationships. I don't care what kind of relationship you are talking about... romantic relationships, friendships, relating with your kids, parents or other relatives, coworkers... it doesn't matter... Whenever two or more people are thrust into a situation when they have to interact with each other, there can be great potential for blame.
Maybe they just don't do it right, whatever it is. Maybe they just don't treat you the way you want (even deserve) to be treated. Maybe they hurt you in some way. Maybe a lot of things.
If you hold a grudge, if you blame, if you hold enmity against someone for any reason you lose. There are numerous verses in the Dhammapada that speak to this. I'll highlight two. The first comes from the Twin Verses (all quotes come from The Still Point Dhammapada)...
"He abused me; he beat me; he
defeated me; he robbed me."
If we cling to such thoughts
we live in hate.
We can become addicted to pointing fingers at other people... pointing out their faults and wrongs. We can become addicted to the "moral high ground." It is not a good place to sit in your practice. Because no matter what you are going off about, you have to know that you are living in hate. You are not being compassionate or loving-kind.
It took me a long time to get to a neutral place with my daughter's father. I thought he was robbing her of something so important to young girls as they develop... a relationship with her father. I thought he was robbing me by shirking his responsibility and paying child support. I was angry about it for a very long time. The essence of this next verse allows me to look at this situation (and other relationships) in a different light:
Do not analyze the failings of others.
Instead look at your own failings.
Where have you been responsible?
Where have you been irresponsible?
[...from Chapter 4 Flowers, pg. 24]
Here is an exercise. Do this for a week. Every time you find yourself ready to "analyze the failings of others," make a tally in a notebook, journal, PDA, whatever you carry. Make a little note about what you are thinking or talking about. Let these tally marks be a reminder to just cut it out. At the end of the week, sum up all of your tallies. This is just a small window into how much you judge, how much you point fingers, how much you blame. Don't get all upset with yourself about it, just notice it. At the end of the week, there will be some distance between you and whatever you were about to think or say. Take a fresh look at the situation or person at hand. Ask yourself: Where have I been responsible? Where have I been irresponsible? And leave it there.