When I point my finger in blame, I have three fingers pointing back at me. Playing the “Blame Game” verses taking personal responsibility. This is a question we often don’t even know we are asking much less answering. How we answer this question on all things big and small will determine the quality of our lives. It’s a choice we all have to make on a regular basis and it has a huge impact on both emotional and physical sobriety.
The question is, what is my part in this and what am I doing or not doing that is contributing to this situation?
If it’s always someone else’s fault and you don’t feel great about your life you might want to consider the following ideas.
Blame literally means to assign responsibility for something that has gone wrong. So if I blame my boss for my problems at work, or my partner for the problems in our relationship or my friends for any conflict or my parents for my life problems etc. then I have to wait for them to change before things gets better. And I have to hope they change in the way that I want them to – what are the odds of that happening?
When I was newly sober and certainly when I was drinking I blamed everyone for everything. I had no concept of personal responsibility. I felt like life was happening to me. I thought of myself as a “wine connoisseur with bad taste in men”. It really looked and felt real and permanent. I had a fine-tuned victim story that I would tell myself and anyone who would listen. It felt like I was trying to walk up the down escalator in life. This limiting belief created an ongoing dialogue of the self-pity that kept me stuck in what I now know to be “learned helplessness”.
In my recovery I’ve learned to “own it” – to recognize and understand that I always have a part in every situation that I am involved. This is not so I can “take the blame” but instead to take responsibility because that is where the power is, that is where I find the power of choice. Responsibility means the ability to respond. Response is powerful, reaction is weak. Reaction is unconscious and is usually based on past experiences where we had no power (childhood). Response is conscious and thoughtful and deliberate. So when we blame we disown our ability to respond and we give away our power.
I am not saying others don’t do harm, we all do. Life and especially love is a contact sport, we all hurt and get hurt at some point. Many of us have suffered all kinds of trauma, many of us come from generational addiction in our families and there is plenty of dysfunction in our society for sure. Sick people hurt sick people, no doubt about it. However, what I have learned is that it’s not what happens to me, but instead, what I do with it and about it that determines how I feel about myself. This is a life changing concept!
They may have caused the injury but the healing is mine to do.
They may have caused the harm but it is my truth to speak.
They may have hurt me but it is mine to forgive so I can be free and get on with my life.
I can’t have it both ways, I can either blame and play the victim and be very right or I can focus on my part, step up and take personal responsibility. If and when I own it, I can change and not until then.