“It is a painful thing to look at your own trouble and know that you yourself and no one else has made it.”
It is so easy to pass the torch of blame onto others. No one wants to feel like they have done something wrong, are at fault, or have failed. These are all feelings that we have been conditioned to avoid. When push comes to shove we spend more time thinking about how a mistake isn’t our fault and trying to find a way to blame someone or something else.
There is a real problem with blaming instead of claiming responsibility for our actions.
Children learn about their world by making mistakes. They touch the stove when it’s hot and learn very quickly that if they touch the hot stove they will get burnt. If they hit another child, they get punished and learn that if they are mean to other children they will get scolded. People never really stop learning in this way, but with time we start to discover a thing called excuses. Excuses allow us to put the blame on something other than ourselves. When we start using excuses instead of going through the thought process of, “if I do this again then the result, good or bad, is my fault” we lose vital pieces of information about problem-solving. When we refuse to take responsibility for our actions we never allow ourselves to fully evaluate the situation to avoid it happening again.
Have you ever made the same mistake over and over again? Why do you think that is? For example, have you ever gone back to a relationship that wasn’t working no matter how hard you tried? Of course, you probably blamed the other person. They keep cheating on you or breaking up with you, or fighting with you. Yet, you still go back and when things end you think about all of the things they did wrong. You will always continue to make the mistakes until you claim responsibility and realize, “if I keep doing this action I will keep getting this result”. It seems so simple yet people have a very hard time in this process. We have been groomed our whole lives to think of failure as a bad thing so when we claim responsibility for our mistakes we also have to claim that we failed to do something effectively. Failure is not a bad thing, failure is a good thing because it is the only way to grow.
Taking responsibility isn’t effective if you only do it for some things and not for everything. Don’t just be accountable for the big things like being late to work and fighting with your partner. Though these are both great places to start and if you do so it will make a difference in your life. More importantly, take responsibility for your wellbeing. If you are happy realize that you have been doing what is necessary for you to be happy, but if you are unhappy, take the blame for your unhappiness. Don’t blame your job, or your relationship, or your financial situation because those things are not at fault YOU are at fault. You make the decision to stay at a job that makes you miserable or be with a person that makes you feel bad about yourself or to avoid doing what you need to fix your finances. These are all choices. You always have a choice and if the choices that you make are the ones that you find yourself complaining about the most, if you are blaming everyone else for your unhappiness, then you need to realize that you are the one accountable and think about what you need to do to make yourself happy.
Start to recognize the things that you complain about on a daily basis. When you recognize them think about what you could have done differently to make the outcome of your situation different. Imagine what would have to change for you to feel good about the situation and then act on it. Make the changes that you need to make to be happy and take the responsibility to take control of your life.