Don't Blame it on the DogsJul 04, 2017
Who hasn’t used the ‘blame it on the dogs’ excuse for things gone wrong?
Blame stands for:
Behave Less Accountably and More Egocentrically
We all blame or have been a blamer at some point of our lives.
Let me share a true story about myself.
The DANGER of blame
I was a blamer once.
My dad had just passed away. I had made 3 trips back and forth to the Netherlands in the previous 4 months while he was sick, the last one was for his funeral. I was exhausted from all the emotions, the traveling and jet lag.
I really needed some support and a place to feel safe. I was hoping my relationship could offer that when I came home. Instead, I had the bottom ripped away from under my feet and fell in a deep dark hole.
My partner confessed that someone else had become the centre of attention, I was no longer loved and the relationship was over.
It was the beginning of a nightmare, that lasted about 3 years. I didn’t think things could get worse, but they did.
It was all because I blamed my partner for all my misery. My trust was violated, I felt violated to have been treated so unfairly and all I could think about was how unfair it was.
‘How could anyone treat me this way? I just lost my dad and when I needed support the most I was rejected.'
I made myself completely powerless. I felt alone.
Depression took hold of me and I suffered from migraines and other chronic physical ailments.
It took me three years before I was able to start turning myself around! But I did, in a big way.
I did not know that I was wasting a lot of my time and energy on blaming. I was blaming society, the healthcare system, the legal system, it was completely taking over my life, almost like an addiction.
I did not realize how it kept me from getting over feeling victimized and feeling dis-empowered. I was too busy telling my story justifying my feeling wronged, and being indignant.
Did you know that the origin of indignant is ‘in-dignus’, meaning “not-worthy’?
Feeling wronged and being indignant is dis-empowering.
There was nobody else to blame but me. I dis-empowered myself.
I did not trust anyone, and became recluse. Licking my wounds incessantly, only to keep them painfully open and prevent healing.
I avoided life like the plague in order to feel ‘safe’.
I didn’t know that’s what I was doing.
Fortunately I found myself again.
I realized my power.
I realized I learned something very important and my purpose became crystal clear for me:
I wanted to end dis-empowerment in the world!
It was a great opportunity for me to learn not only that I am responsible for how I feel, but also that I was able to turn it around and empower myself again. Most importantly, I knew I could help others empower themselves as well.
The dangers of Blaming
When you have a tendency to blame it will affect your whole life.
- Blaming drains your energy and you are wasting precious time
- It eats away at your relationships
- Research has shown that blaming is contagious. The more you do it the more you do it, and when role-modelled, others will do it more too
- When you blame, you miss opportunities for self-development and growth. You miss out on LIFE
- Blaming makes you more egocentric, worrying about how you look, instead of creating your happiness
- Blaming makes you unhappy and prevents you from reaching your potential
- Blaming others is giving your power away
- Blame takes away your ability to understand others and it gets in the way of empathy and connection
Why do we have a tendency to blame?
You may think you don’t blame. I get it, I didn’t know I was blaming either. We don’t think it’s blaming when we feel it is totally justified. We say things like, ‘this person was a total idiot, and now I suffer the consequences’. We buy into our story.
Any time you blame, you give your power away. Even when you think you are right.
Ask yourself, ‘how is this serving me?’ 'What benefit do I get out of blaming?'
Blaming is really about feeling hurt and angry, when someone has hurt your feelings in any way, or disease is invading your health for example.
Blame is releasing discomfort and pain and directing it at something or someone else. (Watch this animation about blame by Brené Brown.)
Making it someone or something else's fault, or even your fault, gives you a false sense of control.
Blame seduces you, so you don’t look at what you can really do about the situation to take real control.
Blaming protects your proud, vulnerable self.
Taking responsibility for actions that didn’t turn out to be the smartest decisions is hard. We are afraid to look stupid and are reluctant to own the consequences, be it failure, physical or emotional pain, or some kind of damage. To protect ourselves, we blame something or someone outside ourselves, or we use blame’s cousin ‘excuse’. Anything to take the focus off of us.
The best ever excuse I heard, early on in my career as a physiotherapist, was from a 13 year old boy suffering from severe ataxia (loss of control over body movements). He was very late for his appointment. He said: ‘I am so sorry I am late, it wasn’t my fault, it was gravity that slowed me down’.
Being personally accountable looks too much like taking blame and condoning other’s wrongful actions. It makes us look bad and it feels too much like shame.
Because we feel it’s not our fault, we don’t feel responsible to do something about it. We become the victim and wait fruitlessly for something or someone to make it right.
Damage caused by blame
Blaming has become an epidemic. Especially in North America, law suites have become very popular.
Burned yourself badly when you spilled the hot coffee, you just bought at the restaurant drive through, all over your legs while driving? Just blame it on the restaurant and sue them!
Law suites are rampant. Blaming has gotten out of control.
Ludicrous laws are implemented, enabling the public to not having to take personal accountability any more. Common sense and common practice are fading away as we become more and more dictated and governed by laws and regulations.
The legal system rewards blamers for their lack of personal accountability when they win their nonsensical law suite and receive a sum of money.
Waivers of liability and disclaimers are a product of a blame based society with lack of personal accountability. The assumption is that people do not have common sense, certainly no common practice, or they are just looking for an easy way to get money.
Relationships falter under the pressure of mutual blame.
‘If you had come home on time last night, I would have gotten enough sleep and wouldn’t have had my second cup of coffee that I burned myself on!’.
‘Well, if you weren’t so addicted to caffeine you wouldn’t have needed the coffee you burned yourself on!!’
Bickering, blaming, pointing fingers, leaves less room for love, respect and real connection in a relationship.
Humans are blamed for the so called global warming, governments are blamed for not doing enough about it, and in the mean time most people do nothing, or very little about the pollution we are all responsible for.
Convenience trumps environment.
Blaming can turn us into hypocrites and prevent us from taking action that can actually make a difference.
Blaming is harmful for your health. In my case, I did not take any responsibility for my pain and grief and I was not holding myself personally accountable. I did not even attempt to take action, so that I could move forward in my life. I kept myself stuck. Because it wasn’t my fault. It was other people’s fault and they should not get away with it. They should pay for their mistakes. However the only one that was paying was ME.
On the flip side of blame there is personal accountability.
Accountability describes accepting responsibility. An individual has accountability for acts and behaviours.
It means having an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility for one's actions (wikipedia)
Sometimes holding yourself accountable means admitting you made a mistake.
In order to be personally accountable, it helps a lot when you are able to forgive. Forgiving yourself the moment you make a mistake, and forgiving others when they make one.
A person that is personally accountable is more self-aware, and has the ability to be open and vulnerable towards others.This creates space for understanding and empathy and opportunities for connection, which is so important in relationships. It allows for open and honest communication where people can hold each other accountable too, instead of going into blaming each other.
When we have personal accountability, instead of wasting energy on who’s fault it is, or who we can blame, we think about what we can do to improve the situation, regardless of who is to blame. Who’s fault it is is simply irrelevant.
The focus is on moving forward, generating options and being creative.
Accountability promotes growth, self-development and positive outcomes.
Lastly, a person with personal accountability provides for a far better role model than a blamer.
The only way to stop the blame epidemic is for everyone to step up and become accountable for their own behaviour, and their own future life!
How can you get from blaming to self-empowerment
Admit it when you made a mistake. What’s the big deal? Nobody is perfect, and no one expects you to be perfect. Don’t try to make others responsible for your life, it’s a trap!
Forgive yourself and others for mistakes made. When you are able to forgive in the moment a mistake is made, you will no longer stay in the blame game. It will set you free.
Be personally accountable
Once you let go of the blaming, you will recognize your power comes from taking accountability for your actions. Not just your past actions, but your FUTURE actions! Instead of focussing on the problem you generate creative options to make things better. You are focussed on solutions and on moving forward, not digging in the past.
Acknowledging your own worthiness and power
Blamers often are indignant. Indignant means not-worthy. When people acknowledge their own worthiness and power, the need to blame will dissolve. A mistake won’t threaten them, there is no need to protect the vulnerable self. There is power in being vulnerable.
Change your perception
What made me step up and turn my life around was all of the above, but also a change in perception. I didn’t just buy into the beliefs I had about myself or the diagnoses I was labeled with. I stopped seeing myself as powerless, and started taking powerful little actions. I challenged myself and increased my knowledge by reading, and learning.
Learn something new, challenge yourself
Nothing is more powerful than knowledge and skills. If you are a blamer and want to kick the habit, start challenging yourself.
Challenge your thoughts your stories, challenge your abilities, skills and knowledge base. Learn something new, do something you have never done, stretch your comfort zone. You will feel more confident and more empowered.
Challenge your level of performance, reach for the next level of your potential. Free yourself from this conditional life where others dominate the outcome of your experience. You can take back the control over your experiences and feel alive again.
Need help with this?
As a certified high performance coach I am trained to help people reach the next level of their highest potential. No matter where they start. Life can be far better than you think it can be.
I have a process, grounded in research, that is changing lives all over the world.
I know many of you are craving the opportunity to engage in a more productive, and meaningful life and self reflection that can draw more out of you.
Try out a free session with me.
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