Have you ever played the blame game? That is, instead of looking inwards, you’re forever looking for external reasons for your unhappiness and misfortune. I’m guilty of playing this game and I’m really trying to stop. I think it’s in the best interest of everyone to stop playing this wretched game. It only brings about heartache to you and everyone around you.
Why Do We Blame Others?
By others, I don’t just mean people. We could blame the situation or circumstances. Some people can’t help but to find someone, or something to blame when something goes wrong. But why do we do this? Here are some reasons:
1. Defence Mechanism. Blame (mistakenly) feels like a great way to maintain our sense of self-esteem. By blaming others, we cover up our own potential flaws or failings. It’s a way to hide the fact that maybe we are the true culprit, but don’t want to admit it to ourselves. Psychologists refer to this as attribution ( For example, …
2. Attack. Sometimes when we are angry, instead of admitting our own faults, we blame our partners or friends for our feelings of distress. By hurting our partners, we irrationally think this will somehow make us feel better about ourselves, or at least make our partners feel as bad as we do. Psychologists refer to this behaviour as destructive conflict ( Both parties resort to retaliation and “getting even”. This results in a negative spiral where neither party actually benefits. Major conflicts around the world, such as the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict, are examples of such behaviour (
3. It’s Easy. Sometimes, blaming other feels like the easy option. Admitting that we have a problem and then changing ourselves so that we don’t continue the negative behaviour can be quite difficult …
4. Illogical Judgements. Humans are notoriously good at leaping to illogical conclusions. It’s hard for us to see that we are really at fault …
5. Dishonesty. Sometimes, people know damn well that they’re at fault, but even so, they look for someone to blame …
Reasons to Stop Blaming
Blame is usually a negative act, at least with regard to our personal relationships. So of course it is in our best interest to stop blaming each other for everything bad that happens to us. Here are some reasons why we should stop:
1. People Will Like You. When you are constantly blaming others, people will soon not like being around you. You will be labelled as “negative”, or a constant “complainer”. Sometimes we just need to grin and bear it and keep our mouths shut. Yes, your colleague Simon might be the worst employee, but is it really your place to constantly speak badly of Simon?
2. You Can Grow. If you never admit your mistakes or identify your faults, you’ll never improve as an individual. We all make mistakes, so it will be no surprise to your colleagues if you make one. People will respect you more if you admit your wrongdoings rather than cover them up and blame others. It shows real strength of character.
3. Learn Life’s Lessons. Buddhists believe that everything negative that happens to us is there to help us learn. If you don’t learn from these little lessons, life will continue throwing the same lessons at you until you do. At least in my life, I know this to be fairly true. One of my old bosses was overly demanding and ungrateful. I quit my job only to find that my new boss was even more demanding and ungrateful! After a bit of soul-searching, I realised the problem was with me. I rarely ever have any problems with my current bosses. (Yes, multiple jobs). The key is to just admit my flaws and mistakes, and they appreciate me more.
4. Empowerment. When things go wrong, people often exclaim that they have been unfairly treated. If we look at nature, fairness doesn’t exist. Big creatures hunt down small baby animals without any regard of the mother’s feelings. Some people are born perfectly healthy, while others are born with crippling disabilities. Fairness is a human construct. When we accept that life is not always fair and accept responsibility for our actions, we become empowered and can take charge of our life.
Now I’m the first to admit, I’m not perfect. I still sometimes engage in the blame game. I don’t want to, but sometimes I lose my temper. Luckily, I’ve reached a point in my life where I have identified blame as a bad thing. I’m trying my best to identify life’s lessons and consent to learning from them. I think that’s the only way we can improve as individuals. If enough individuals do the same, humanity will surely improve as well.
Originally posted on Daily Rant Australia on May 19, 2016 by Andrew.
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