One of the most destructive things we do is play the blame game. The blame is where we blame another person for something bad that has happened, instead of making changes that improve the situation
I was asked an interesting question the other day. ‘Who has hurt you most in your life?’
Without thinking about this question, nor giving myself time to truly reflect, my initial thoughts considered whether it was my first true love ending our relationship; my wife deciding to leave me; a business partner who didn’t confide in me and whose actions destroyed a great business; or my other business partner who left me in an impossible situation when he not only resigned his directorship but also terminated my employment contract with his other business. Maybe it’s the consultant who has twice operated on my eye leaving me virtually blind in that eye and has never offered me any support or guidance.
So who was the worst culprit? The number one choice of who hurt me the most?
Not one of them. Nor anyone else, that if I thought about this longer, I may think of. The truth is that there is no benefit in playing the blame game or holding others responsible for hurting me. Only I can truly hurt myself.
The Blame Game
Why do we waste so much of our time on assigning blame instead of actually focusing on how to fix whatever the problem is we face? It’s essential that although I can’t control everything, I can control how I react to those things that happen. Not wasting my time away blaming others or even circumstances for what has happened.
When things go wrong it is natural to feel a sense of shock, to find yourself getting angry and worked up! Yet instead of focusing on the solution to our problem we try identifying someone to blame for the problem. This is simply passing responsibility and accepting powerlessness. It does nothing to help us move on.
“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.” George Bernard Shaw
It’s how we react
When a young child falls over and cuts their knee, for 30 seconds they may cry and scream, but within a minute they seem to forget about what happened. They don’t waste time looking for who to blame either. Within minutes they’re back to living their life as if this event never took place. They waste no more time thinking back to what happened. It’s gone.
I came to realise that nobody could truly hurt me. I’m in charge of my life, and how I respond to everything is my choice. What I do and how I react is my decision to make. Nobody chooses for me. I can choose to allow someone to hurt me, not by what they do but through how I react to what they do.
All too often, we give too much of ourselves only to feel distressed, angry, and hurt because of what is done by another person. When we feel these negative feelings, it’s extremely difficult to respond to life because we are too busy reacting to our painful emotions. Yet when we think of possible solutions to our problems, really concentrating on them, we feel powerful and capable.
We are 100% responsible
The only person who can hurt you is yourself!
You can only lose what you cling to. Buddha
We allow ourselves to hurt as the result of what someone else does or does not do to us. The truth is only you can do damage to yourself. It is essential for us to move away from the role of a victim and release the control and power another has over our life. When we blame others we are adopting a victim’s mentality. The victim mentality is the opposite of personal responsibility. This is when people give up on controlling their own lives because they see themselves as having no influence.
It’s as I wrote on Monday in Transforming the Victim Mentality, I refuse to allow myself to be a victim. To be a victim there needs to be a perpetrator. Nobody can be allowed to have that much influence over our lives.
People spend too much time finding other people to blame, too much energy finding excuses for not being what they are capable of being, and not enough energy putting themselves on the line, growing out of the past, and getting on with their lives. J. Michael Straczynski
Personal responsibility is taking conscious control of your responses to the events and circumstances in your life. You are responsible for yourself. While you may not be able to control everything that happens to you, you are nevertheless responsible for how you think, act, and feel in response to those things. When you admit to yourself that you are solely responsible for your life, you immediately recognize how much control you really do have. Then nobody can either have a long lasting negative effect on you or leave you down because of their ability to hurt you.
Forgiveness is powerful
Nearly everyone has been hurt by the actions or words of another. The scars they leave can be long lasting, if you allow them to be. If you allow negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings , you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice. The act that hurt you might always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, more positive parts of your life.
Generally, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.
Life is always changing
Things change, often spontaneously. People and circumstances come and go. Life doesn’t stop for anybody. It moves rapidly and rushes from calm to chaos in a matter of seconds, and happens like this to people every day. Embrace change and realize it happens for a reason. It won’t always be obvious at first, but in the end it will be worth it.
No matter how much we want things to stay the same, life is all about change. Sometimes change is for the better, and sometimes it’s not. But no matter why things are changing, we need to be able to let go and move on. Whether it’s the death of a loved one, a painful breakup, a business failure, or a treacherous betrayal, holding onto pass pain and resentment will only hold you back. Relationships will come and go, but only you can decide to allow the hurt to impact you.
You will only ever live the life you create for yourself. Your life is yours alone. Others can try to influence you, but they can’t choose for you, nor can you hold them responsible and play the blame game.
If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.” Theodore Roosevelt