"The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny."
-Albert Ellis, psychologist
Do you ever find yourself saying any of the following? (If not – you rock! Seriously!)
“Why is this happening to me?”
“Why does this keep happening to me?“
“Why is this person doing this to me?“
“Why are they doing this still/again?!”
“Can’t anything go right?“
“If only he or she would…“
Take a moment to think of something that is relevant to you; maybe you've made excuses for not getting the job you want. Or made excuses for not making the team. Or maybe you think you are overweight and you blame it on bad genetics. Or maybe you blamed your internet provider for your Internet going down.... (ok, note that there is a difference between a reason and an excuse: A reason is valid and unavoidable; an excuse is an attempt to shift the blame... so maybe your internet provider did go down but instead of getting grumpy about it you can find something else to do....).
For many people, whenever something goes wrong with their lives, they like to complain and put the blame on others.
If it is often someone else who is somehow responsible for the problems you’re having, you are playing what is called “The Blame Game.” It might feel nice in the moment to let yourself off the hook and to not have to risk making mistakes and possibly confronting failure, or maybe you feel like you’ve solved a problem. By blaming others you might feel more in control. And sure, it's a lot easier to point fingers when you feel disappointed, especially if it keeps happening again and again. By blaming someone or something else, you don’t have to take action: another person will do it for you. Whatever the reason for the blame, it’s passing the buck. It’s giving up on yourself, your own life, health, or chance at happiness.
By blaming another person for your problems, for your unhappiness or for the areas of your life that are way below average:
- You are making yourself a victim instead of making the most of what you do have.
- You are not realizing that (in most cases) you’re part of the problem when you really need to acknowledge your contribution to it.
- You don’t give your attention to finding a solution instead of focussing your attention on what you can do about it.
And if you rant and go on about it, you are giving it more attention and energy, which it does not deserve. You inevitably surround yourself with anger, resentment and negative thoughts -- all of which are surefire ways to bring on fatigue, sadness, stress and even chronic disease.
"When you blame others, you give up your power to change."
You have no excuse to be a victim or to blame others for your problems or shortcomings. You are NOT helpless. Stop acting like it.
If you believe that someone else is responsible for your problems, that belief is actually a problem. Instead of making excuses, you need to step back and see the big picture; you need to change your perspective and also to accept your role or contribution to the problem. You need to take responsibility and accept your own non-perfect behaviour, and also the impact it has on others. You are the only one who can improve yourself. No one else is going to do it for you.
It all starts with YOU.
Yes! The solutions are inside you! This simple shift in mindset and attitude can make a huge difference in your life. When you shift from blaming something or someone else for a problem, you become motivated to take action and DO something about it - and you can! You have the power to take control and change the things that you are not happy with in your life; and when you do, all the progress and all the success belongs to you. We make choices every day, and our choices have consequences, which, more often than not, we are responsible for. Stay true to your heart and desires.
You are human and we all make mistakes. Instead of looking at mistakes or failures as negative and shifting blame, you can look at them as opportunities to learn new things or sharpen your skills. When you take responsibility for your life and accept that it is ok to be imperfect, you will find more peace and happiness and begin to grow mentally and spiritually.
It can be very a difficult thing to do, to not blame others and to take responsibility for your own actions. It takes guts and courage. But you can do it. It’s a choice.
How To Take Action
Start by asking yourself how you contributed to this problem, and really give it some thought. When you become aware about how you are contributing to a specific problem in your life, you will start to figure out new ways to solve it. You will be able to think about what you will do differently if there is a next time. And you can remain the happy, healthy person you want to be.
So, instead of:
- Blaming traffic/truck drivers/slow drivers for being late to an appointment… take responsibility and admit that you should have left a few minutes earlier for the appointment.
- Blaming your hectic schedule for the reason you've put on a couple of pounds… take responsibility and acknowledge that, while being stressed because of a busy time, you've been eating crappy food.
- Blaming your kids for your bad day... take responsibility, and accept that no one is to blame for your bad day, other than yourself. (This topic is a future blog post itself! It has to do with perspective).
- Blaming your spouse for the problems in your marriage… accept responsibility for your own behaviour and your contribution to the issues.
Figure out what YOU can do to change the situation, and take action!
Life will never be perfect nor easy. Life isn’t always fair and we don’t get to choose each circumstance. We can’t control the people around us and we don’t get all the time in the world to wait for the ideal circumstances to happen. There will always be obstacles, annoyances, and limitations to deal with.
Personal responsibility can empower you to change your reality. Lasting transformation begins on the inside.
Do you have questions or thoughts? You are welcome to reach out to me; click HERE for my contact page.