Blame is something that starts very early in life. We quickly learn that taking credit for things that result in reward feels good while being blamed results in punishment and feels bad.
The problem is that blame doesn’t fix anything. It may temporarily and in a vengeful way “feel good,” but does it ever result in a positive outcome?
- If you blame someone else for a problem, they’ll probably become defensive and see your behaviour as aggressive or a form of punishment. Even if they change, they’ll likely be resentful in a way that damages your relationship.
- If you blame yourself, you risk getting caught up in a mental thrashing that results only in negative thoughts and feelings instead of behaviour that makes a positive difference. Shame and guilt are forms of self-punishment that are more likely to shut down corrective action than to motivate it.
- If you blame the situation, you feel helpless instead of empowered to move forward from where you are with what you have.
The entire point of determining where something went wrong is to fix it or to avoid making the same choices next time.
You can do that without blaming anyone or anything.
The next time you feel angry and want to blame someone, including yourself:
- Let the anger melt away
- Look for a solution
- If there is no solution, look for a lesson
- Be open to the idea that whatever the “error” was, the intent behind it was not malicious
- Instead of “It’s your fault!” try “Those weren’t the results we wanted. Maybe next time we can try…”
Whatever happened, the deed is done. You can stress, stew, and rumble about it for as long as you like, but the sooner you move away from blame and toward openness, the sooner you move beyond what happened and get back to enjoying life.
When you flip the blame, the behaviour can be addressed from a place of assertion and fact without heated emotions. Relationships aren’t threatened or harmed, lessons are learned, and everyone remains positive.
As always, I am available to you if you have any questions – for counseling, mindful change sessions, or coaching. Please let me know if you would like to talk with me. You can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 613.601.1083.