The Blame Shield
“A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.” ~John Burroughs
As a professional coach, it is only natural that I hear a lot of stories from my clients. These stories often focus on the source of their discomfort, the professional and personal challenges with which they’re dealing.
Usually there’s some sort of blame involved, a sense of injustice and personal violation, that the “other”—whether a person or situation—is responsible for their upset or hurt feelings.
This is a natural human reaction and part of the grief process, and meant to be moved through, not moved into.
Blaming someone else for our upset is the easiest, quickest form of self-protection available in any situation that you don’t like, agree with, or find pleasing.
Blame is a shield which allows utter avoidance of consequences to personal choices.
Because—and here’s the rub—blame is a choice.
Might not feel like one since you have ample reasons to back up your choice.
And you’re probably right: The other was wrong.
You have plenty of data to justify your outrage and all kinds of places to point your finger, waiting for the “other” to fix your feelings, thereby shirking responsibility for your own sense of peace and happiness.
Because—guess what—blame does nothing to move the ball down the field; in fact, it moves the ball out-of-bounds and ends all forward progress.
Blame costs you, not the other person(s); they could care less about your pointed finger.
“When people are lame, they love to blame.” ~Robert Kiyosaki
There’s not a person on this planet who doesn’t have a “poor me” story.
But, we only blame when we feel powerless to change the story.
The question is not was the “other” wrong (read: organization, spouse, job, pandemic, politics, etc.), but rather, how long to you want to continue to pay the significant emotional prices that your blame engenders? Because it’s very expensive.
The choice to blame lives in the mind and harms your heart.
The choice to release it lives in the heart and mends your mind.
Ask yourself, “If X hadn’t happened, how would I feel? How would I behave? Who would I be?”
Then go be that.
It will only cost you your need to be right about the past.
“Blame is for God and small children.” ~Dustin Hoffman