Blaming is a game we have all played in the past and will likely play in the future. Maybe even right now you are playing it in your head. It is so much easier to blame someone or a situation or event for causing us to fall short of an expectation. What is not easy, is taking responsibility for our own issues and fix it.
Years ago I had the privilege of teaching at Valencia College in Orlando. I worked with Dr Larry Graham and during a leave of absence he had taken, I stepped in to help with the choral and keyboard programs. The first thing I told the choir, and consequently every choir after that, is that during rehearsal if they make a mistake I do not want them whining about it, saying, “sorry” or getting upset with themselves. I simply wanted them to shoot their hand in the air and then put it back down, owning up to their mistake and moving on.
We blame people for several reasons but here are a few of the essential ones:
- It’s our weapon when we feel attacked. It helps us get immediately into conflict resolution BUT it actually leads us into destructive conflict resolution.
- We can’t figure people out. In fact, we really can’t figure ourselves out when we make mistakes. We do it and then have this moment of, “why did I do that, again?” So blaming is a great way to deflect the attention of our us and on to something or someone else.
- You can call it what you will – deflecting, denial, displacement, projecting, but it comes down to protecting our self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. If we feel that our self-esteem or even our job is about to be jeopardized, we come up with ways to blame something or someone to hopefully take the pressure off of ourselves.
Responsibility taking is tough. We LOVE taking responsibility when things go right but how about when they go wrong? That’s the point I was trying to teach my choir members – claim it. Own it. It’s yours. You created it.
The blame game – we all play it. But we all have the power within us to stop playing it. We are all faced with the OPTION of either blaming or taking responsibility.
If we would own up to our mistakes we will see opportunity for growth. We will find the strength and the power to achieve fulfillment in all aspects of life from work to love.
In the movie Birdcage, there is a conversation between Albert and Armand that I love. Albert is going on about how young he USED to be, how good looking he USED to be, and now he was middle-aged and short. Armand’s response is awesome. He says, “I made you short?” Many times when we blame others, we’re really looking rather silly.
Stop blaming everyone else for your mistakes or your shortcomings or your inability to manage your life situations. Instead, take responsibility, own up to it. Only then can you ever hope to achieve your goals, your hopes, and your dreams. Stop pointing blame at others – besides, didn’t your Mother ever tell you it wasn’t nice to point?