art work by John Ceprano
CINERGY (tm) - Peacebuilding... one person at a time

Pointing Fingers

When we talk about pointing fingers at others (when in conflict) it is typically in the context of blaming them for something. It could be that their words or deeds offended us or got us into trouble. It may be because we didn’t get what we wanted and we suspect the other person’s motives. Or, it may be that we are passing on fault that we own or share.

These and other blame-type scenarios commonly arise in interpersonal conflict and remind me of a great Hindu proverb: “Whenever you point your finger at someone, you have three pointed at yourself”. If I bring this proverb to mind when I begin to find fault, it actually reduces the tendency to blame and urges me to look at how I contributed to the discord.

This week’s blog invites you to consider that possibility regarding a situation in which you are pointing or pointed a finger at someone. The verbs of the questions are in the present tense, but if the conflict that comes to mind already occurred just change the verbs to the past tense where relevant.

  • What is the conflict about?
  • For what are you pointing your finger at the other person?
  • What more particularly makes that thing (those things) that the other person said or did particularly disconcerting for you?
  • What specific message or messages is your finger-pointing meant to convey?
  • What message or messages do you think the other person is receiving, if different from your answer to the previous question?
  • What do you think the three messages are on each of the fingers pointing back at you that reflect the other person’s views about your contribution to the dispute?
  • What are you willing to take responsibility for in this dispute?
  • What specifically would you do differently if you had the chance to be in this conflict again?
  • What message(s) would you like to convey to the other person now that you have thought about this?
  • What does your answer to the previous question mean with respect to what you learned in this situation?

What other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) may you add here?

This entry was posted in Blame, Conflict Coaching. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *