Stop Blaming Others

This book that I’m reading now (see below) is an endless source for my “Fireworks”. Listen to this excerpt:

When something doesn’t meet our expectations, many of us operate with the assumption, “When in doubt, it must be someone else’s fault.” You can see this assumption in action almost everywhere you look – something is missing, so someone else must have moved it; the car isn’t working right, so the mechanic must have repaired it incorrectly; your expenses exceed your income, so your spouse must be spending too much money; the house is a mess, so you must be the only person that doing your part; a project is late, so your colleagues at work must not have done their share – and on and on it goes. 

This type of blaming thinking has become extremely common in our culture. On a personal level, it has led us to believe that we are never completely responsible for our own actions, problems, or happiness. When we are in the habit of blaming others, we will blame others for our anger (as we use to say – “he makes me angry” and not “I’m angry”), frustration, desperation, stress and unhappiness.

In terms of personal happiness, you cannot be peaceful while at the same time blaming others. Surely there are times when other people and/or circumstances contribute to our problems, but it is we who must rise to the occasion and take responsibility for our own happiness. Circumstances don’t make a person, they reveal him or her.

As an experiment, notice what happens when you stop blaming others for anything and everything in your life. This doesn’t mean you don’t hold people accountable for their actions, but that you hold yourself accountable for your own happiness and for your reactions to other people. When you’re over budget, figure out where you can spend less money. Most important, when you’re unhappy, remind yourself that only you can make yourself happy.

Blaming others take an enormous amount of mental energy. It’s a “drag-me-down” mind-set that creates stress and disease. Blaming makes you feel powerless over your own life because your happiness is contingent on the actions and behavior of others, which you can’t control. When you stop blaming others, you will regain your sense of personal power. You will see yourself as a choice maker. You will know that when you are upset, you are playing a key role in the creation of your own feelings. This means you can also play a key role in creating new, more positive feelings. Life is a great deal more fun and much easier to manage when you stop blaming others. Give it a try and see what happens.

(“Don’t sweat the small stuff…and it’s all small stuff”, by Richard Carlson, Ph.D. Copyright c 1997)

One day we were sitting in a restaurant, my dear wife and me, and after choosing from the menu, I put my reading eyeglasses on the table assuming that I’ll need to use them later on. Just before we finished I went to the bathroom and when I returned, my wife moved to my seat in the corner in order to make it easier for me. So I sat in her seat in order to pay the check and then we left. On our way back, driving already on the highway, I noticed that I forgot the eyeglasses in the restaurant. The first thing that came into my mind was to blame her for switching our seats in the restaurant, assuming that otherwise I would have noticed it and hadn’t forgotten it.

Of course it wasn’t her fault, but it makes it very easy to pass the blame and pass the responsibility to somebody else….

Fireworks (10)
Shuka, from Dublin Ireland, Thursday, August 7, 2008

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