01 Mar The Blame Game
Last night my dog Riley felt unwell. Unable to find an open door, he headed into our walk-in wardrobe and used it as a toilet! My husband Phil and I were quickly alerted thanks to the unpleasant odour wafting through our bedroom. When I discovered his not so little accident sinking into the carpet, my mind quickly backtracked to identify a possible cause.
On recalling that earlier last night Phil had fed Riley the remainder of Phil’s unfinished dinner, I jumped to the conclusion that it hadn’t agreed with Riley’s digestive system, and that Phil was at fault for the very stinky situation.
I immediately felt a strong urge to play the blame game and vent my frustration at Phil.
Have you ever noticed how alluring and satisfying it can feel to point the finger? But here’s the thing, blame always comes at a cost.
In this article we’re going to take a look at why we like to play the blame game, and what it costs us.
Why Do We Blame?
We tend to want to blame others when we feel something uncomfortable.
For example, you may feel frustrated, angry or sad, and as these emotions run through your system they feel unpleasant and difficult to stay present to.
By blaming someone, you’re able to shift those uncomfortable feelings onto someone else. By displacing unwanted emotions, in essence you’re saying ‘these feelings are not me, they’re you, …or that person, …or that circumstance’.
In the move from me to you, or me to any other person, we make someone else responsible in an effort to get rid of any uncomfortable feelings.
It sounds like a nifty side-step right? But there’s a catch.
How Blame Disables Us
When you blame someone else for how you’re feeling, you simultaneously sabotage your ability to respond effectively to what’s going on. You give away your power by saying ‘I’m not responsible for my thoughts, feelings, and attitudes, someone else is’.
If you place someone else at fault, you then have to wait for them to fix things. Now you’re powerless and at the mercy of the person you’re blaming to do the right thing according to your set of rules.
Take a look at the word blame. To blame is to ‘be-lame’. We literally disempower ourselves when we blame.
How to Get Back in the Drivers’ Seat
To retain your personal power whenever you feel the urge to blame others, try asking yourself this simple question:
“What role am I playing in what’s happening here?”
This will have you inquire into the situation in terms of what you can do about it.
The questions we ask ourselves have a powerful impact. Imagine replacing the above question with “Why is this happening to me?” Ask an unresourceful question, get an unresourceful answer.
“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on it, I’d spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper questions to ask”
– Albert Einstein
By seeking to find how you are contributing to a challenging situation, you place yourself in the ideal position to facilitate an optimal outcome.
And by taking responsibility for your part instead of blaming others for your experiences or making them accountable for your actions, you’ll create less friction in your relationships.
Next time you feel like playing the blame game, think about what it will cost you and if it’s worth the price.
If you’d like to explore these ideas further and start unleashing your full potential, click here to book in for a 30 minute free Discovery Coaching Session now.
Written by Soo Balbi
Soo is a behavioural expert and one of Australia’s leading Developmental Coaches who helps women in tech thrive. Soo assists her clients to cut to the heart of any challenge, enabling choices and possibilities previously unavailable.