It’s 2013:Get Rid of Blame (Part 1 of 4)
Greetings and welcome to my post. The purpose of this post is to engage in conversation about building trusting relationships. I believe that we are all created for relationships and what gives our lives meaning and purpose is to know that we are loved and accepted. When we have happy, purposeful, and meaningful relationships, then our lives become meaningful because we are loved and accepted by someone. Meaningful relationships really do bring hope to our lives.
In my first post of 2013, I asked you to consider becoming a more loving person. In my second post, I wanted you to consider practicing being humble. Each month, I will ask you to consider practicing various themes so that by the end of the year, you will have seen that 2013 was not just a year in which you passively allowed time to happen to you, but that you actively became a different person by practicing healthy character and success in all relationships.
Stop Using Excuses
In my third post for 2013 (January was love and February was humbleness) I want to focus on finding ways to get rid of blame. The most common response to a problem is “It was not my fault.” We all tend to blame and try to find the root of the problem by stating that it was not my fault, but we blame the problem on a variety of other things. We all like to point the finger and try to fault find as a way to either not take responsibility for the problem or find fault with others as a way to try to get someone else to take responsibility for the problem.
But the good news is, there is a healthier way to respond! Sure, we all probably have gotten some type of raw deal out of life, hurt from other people, our DNA or a range of life circumstances; there is always something we can do to make things better. We can find ways to get our focus off of what we can’t control and find ways to break free from the blame game that can sabotage our success. We can make better choices and start living the life you can choose to live.
Sure, life can be difficult. I don’t want to minimize this. But the challenge for all of us is to continue to persevere so that we can find new choices or strategies that will help bring hope to our life. Whether it involves a relational problem, a career that’s in neutral or an emotional problem such as depression, anxiety or an addiction, you can take back the power, bring order to the chaos and choose to have a better life. We all can move from the position of ‘poor me’ feeling and ‘I can’t ‘thinking, to the success and victory for your life.
Own Your Life
So, the first thing we have to do to make life an even playing ground is to swallow this statement: At times the problem for all of us is, we fail to take responsibility for our own lives. There, I said it! You know and I know it is true. We can shift the blame, the responsibility, the fault to others. Just like Adam and Eve in the garden. From day one, we all have now and then taken the stance of shifting the blame onto someone else, or at the very least something else. We all know the statement, ‘Well, if he or she would have done this or that, then I would not be in this pickle.” We use the “If…Then” scenario and find this type of thinking helps us make sense out of our problems or binds we get ourselves into.
As we all know, using blame may temporarily help us feel better or it may help us justify why we are feeling the way we do. But, in the end, when we blame someone for our problems, we are no closer to a solution for the problem. We can blame something or someone for why we are overweight, have a smoking problem, are not ahead financially, or lacking the love of someone else, but blame will never solve the problem. Because when we blame, we are concluding that someone or something else is in control of our behavior. We tend to think that we are being controlled and thus stuck.
For example, think of someone you know who unfortunately grew up in a divorced family, an alcoholic family, a family where there was lots of abuse and pain. This someone that you know works at a job they do not like, date people that are not good for them, and struggle financially to get ahead. This person probably does what many people do, they complain. They complain because none of their problems are their fault. When you confront them about what they are going to do about it, they will give you a list of excuses.
You see, blame and excuses are really all about control. It is not the bad things that happen to us that determine our destiny; it is how we respond to them. In short, when we take ownership of our life, we stop allowing other people or circumstances to own our life. Because when we own and take control, then we have the right and the means to do something about it. And solving the problem and bettering our lives is what brings about taking control over our lives versus staying in a victim or stuck position.
Probably the number one obstacle we all have to overcome is this topic of justice. As you know, justice has to do with the terms just or fair, and when we think about these terms, we are thinking or demanding about the way we think life ought to go. So, people who take ownership and responsibility for their lives are living in reality, not in fantasy, or wishful thinking, or demanding justice. In other words, they take life as it comes and live in the current reality and not demanding or wishing life to be different. We all live in a world that is neither fair nor just, and responsible people deal and process this reality versus blaming or demanding for some type of wishful justice. People, who don’t take ownership, want or demand a world where people treat them the way they are supposed to be treated, where good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. Their thinking is that this is fair, and that is the way it should be. But this is not reality and they are having false wishes.
So when life is not fair or justice does not work out perfectly, take ownership and don’t get stuck. Instead, get active and find the best solution to your problem. Value taking on a healthier attitude and choose “when life is not fair, I will do everything in my power to find an answer to the problem at hand” attitude. Seek solutions, consider your options, choose what you can do, and learn to be grateful instead of complaining. Don’t allow complaining to last too long, it will only leave you stuck and mad because life is not fair.
Thanks for reading and I welcome your feedback, comments and reaction.
Phil Kiehl, LMFT, M.Div.