Welcome to the third in the series of common thinking traps and how to avoid them. The first one was catastrophising and the second was Generalisation. The third one that I’m discussing today is called Blame Culture; in my opinion it’s rife within society.
The first in the series, catastrophising, made it clear that we need to fully accept and take responsibility for the life that we lead if we are to affect powerful and desired changes in our thinking and actions. I discussed what I refer to as the ‘Adam and Eve Syndrome: “She made me eat it; the serpent said it was ok.”
The Challenge to Blame Culture is self-explanatory: namely, we are constantly on the look-out to blame others for what has happened to us and not accept responsibility. The famous musical Westside Story features the wonderful song: Officer Krupke. In that song there are lines such as:
My grandpa’s always plastered,
My grandma pushes tea.
My sister wears a moustache,
My brother wears a dress.
Goodness gracious, that’s why I’m a mess!
Do these events help shape Action’s life? They probably didn’t help. Are these events the cause of Action’s life being a mess? No.
Apportioning the blame to those around you, as the cause of your life being like it is, is to absolve yourself of personal responsibility and ownership of your life. After the moan’s over what’s going to change? The people that you are blaming are unlikely to, or literally can’t, change (they’re no longer alive) the way that they behave.
A far more effective process is to demand change in yourself. You can change you. You are wasting your time if you expect to change them.
My wife and I are involved in Marriage Preparation at the church that we attend. It never fails to raise a smile when we present one particular section called: Isle, Alter, Hymn. Namely:
Brides: Remember, walk slowly down the aisle, stop near to the altar and once you’ve sung the first hymn you’ll feel more relaxed. So, as you walk down the aisle with whoever’s giving you away, just keep saying:
“Aisle, altar, hymn; aisle, altar, hymn; aisle, altar, hymn…
I’ll alter him; I’ll alter him…”
Blaming others for our disappointments, our character and our exam results is a waste of time and energy. Seeking to change another person is, by the same token, a waste of time and energy. Accept responsibility for the situation you’re in. You’re in it after all, no one else.
The Opportunity for questions to ask could include:
How can I take responsibility here? What can I do?
There is much to reflect and I’ve written about that above. Two further thoughts are these:
When you blame others, you give up your power to change
– Robert Anthony
Acting lame leads to acting blame
– Stephen Long
Take the opportunity to act decisively and take control of the situation that you find yourself in. Blame no one. You have the power to change, to make decisions and lead a blame-less, or even better, blame-no one life. It requires you to let go: to let go of blame.
Say to yourself along with the two quotes above: I banish blame and I accept full responsibility.
Here’s the summary:
Challenge – She’s at fault! He made me!
Opportunity – How can I take responsibility here?
Reflection: Acting lame leads to acting blame
Saying – I banish blame and I accept full responsibility