Blaming is endemic these days.
It is almost as if western culture has spawned several generations of ‘helpless victims’ seeking redress for crimes, real or imagined, committed against them. This victim mentality often rears its head when something goes wrong, and things often do go wrong—due another western concept—that of unlimited freedom.
Now, you may be thinking, “How is this possible?” Yet I can almost guarantee that there have been points in your life when you blamed another for what you were
- feeling, (“He makes me so angry!”)
- doing, (“I had no choice. She made me hit her.”)
- or even thinking, (“My father was an evil man, and now I can’t get evil thoughts out of my head.”)
In short, blaming behaviour is anything that allows you to sidestep responsibility—total responsibility—for what you do, think, say, or feel.
Conditioning Starts Early
We are conditioned (how often have you heard a parent say to a kid, “When you spill peas, you make me so sad!!!”) to think that others cause us to behave in certain ways we find objectionable, yet, when pressed, it is impossible to demonstrate compulsion. To go back to the two morons on the toboggan— who ‘made’ them climb the fence and ignore the signs? How does it follow that, just because they have the ‘right’ to be stupid, actually being stupid and getting hurt is someone else’s fault?
Or, more on topic, how does anyone get away with thinking that others have some nefarious power over him or her —that, if it wasn’t for them, he or she would never mess up, but somehow they ‘make me.’
Poor me, poor helpless victim of a big, bad world filled with ‘them.’
What We Need Are More People to Choose to Grow Up
There is no way to get others and the world to ‘behave.’ Things happen and, as we have been saying, we then interpret (give meaning to—right / wrong, good / bad, etc.) those things. We put the spin on the details of our life. No one makes us define things a certain way.
Once we see this, we can ask, “What do I want here?”
To blame another is to make myself a victim of her or his behaviour. To recognize that others are not predisposed behave the way I want them to, or to agree with me ‘just because,’ is the beginning of wisdom.
It is the same for everyone. Each person sees the world from a uniquely personal perspective, and here is a hint: others see the world through their experience, filters, and understandings, not yours! What others think, do, and say are what they think do, and say. It is not about you. What is totally about you is how you live your life, and how you respond to the situations you confront.
The Cult of Self-responsibility
I just had a flash! I often describe myself (in workshops) as the president of the Cult of Self-responsibility. A woman once demanded that I stop saying that, because she’d had a bad experience with a cult. I suggested she get over herself.
Imagine a world where I (or you) can only speak words approved of by others. I vote ‘no!’
So, what is a self-responsible solution (SRS)? A SRS is one where I let others know what I am thinking, and what I will do. Period. As such, the pronoun one uses to convey a SRS is ‘I.’ Here is who I am, what I think, and what I will do.
And then, being a person of integrity, you do what you say you will do.
To get into blaming is the perfect way to never resolve anything, while at the same time being able to pretend self-righteousness, through making others guilty for your behaviour!
SRS, on the other hand, are not determined by others, and are not dependent upon others for their implementation. There is no one other than you that can take responsibility for what you will do. That’s what makes it self responsible.
Think about the number of times you have used ‘the blame game’ to get off the hook for personal responsibility. Think about all of the times you have blamed your parents, partner, co-workers, for things going wrong in your life. Think about sitting there, whining, and blaming, and notice that no situation changes until you do.
Then, adopt self-responsible solutions as your way of being. Own up to where you are, who you are and what you will do.
Then, do it. No excuses. Your life will never be the same.