Your parents worked hard to teach you how to do the right thing, but you didn’t need any help in learning wrong as it seems to come naturally. One way that people justify their bad choices is to blame others. From an early age, you learned how to point fingers at your siblings, friends, or even the dog when you were caught doing something wrong.
What is it about human nature that makes us want to shift the burden of wrong over to the next person? Do you remember being a kid and telling your parents not to blame you as it was your little brother’s fault? Even though you may have done the deed, bringing an innocent party into the equation somehow made you feel justified.
One of the first things that children learn to be generous with is guilt. You’re not alone, because everyone is guilty of finger-pointing. As adults, you often find it even easier to find fault in others and blame them for your mistakes or things going haywire.
It goes against your nature to accept responsibility for your shortcomings. Have you ever felt good about biting the bitter pill and admitting to your faults? There’s an old saying that the person who is always smiling has thought of someone to blame.
There’s a difference between owning up to your mistakes and continuously blaming yourself for everything. While it’s not healthy to live under the staggering weight of guilt for things beyond your control, you should feel guilty about doing wrong intentionally and then make it right.
Blaming others for your shortcomings may give you a skewed sense of satisfaction. However, it doesn’t last long, and it won’t do anything to resolve the issues. If you allow the blame game to become a habit, you can blame others and live in misery.
Eight Ways to Stop Blaming Others
It takes a strong person to stand up and own your mistakes. Nobody wants to make themselves look bad when they falter. However, you’ll find that people will respect you more when you admit to your shortcomings and do something to rectify them.
Are you tired of being a pawn on the board of the blame game? It’s never too late to get off the fault-finding merry-go-round and admit when you’ve missed the mark. Here are some positive ways to stop blaming others for everything wrong in your life.
1. Admit That You Have a Problem
It may sound clichéd, but the first step to solving a problem in your life indeed is to admit that you have one. Of course, it feels uncomfortable to bear the scarlet letter of blame. However, you will feel the burden lifting when you come to terms with your habit of not accepting responsibility for your actions.
Now that you realize that you have a problem, you can formulate ways to resolve it. However, this isn’t going to be an easy task, especially since the blame game is ingrained in the human experience. Owning up to your problem is the most significant hurdle.
Sometimes, it’s difficult to confess your faults because you have low self-esteem. Maybe you feel better and morally superior when you’re blaming others for your shortcomings. Unfortunately, it’s a slippery slope that can cause many conflicts in your personal and professional relationships.
2. Assess Your Life
While finding your responsibility in a current problem may be difficult, reviewing the past problems may shed some valuable light. Perhaps you can make this a section of your journal or make a separate one for this soul-searching task. Look back on some of the major upheavals in your life and see how your pattern of blaming others may have begun.
Maybe it started when you were a child when it helped to get out of trouble by pointing out your siblings or making them partially responsible. Understand that this behavior is normal for children but is unacceptable and detrimental in adulthood. As you review past problems in your life, notice if you still hold grudges and blame others.
3. Learn to Take Some Blame
A prime example of people shifting all the blame to another person is usually observed after failed relationships. If you’ve ever been in a relationship that went sour, you may have self-medicated your heart by making everything your ex’s fault. If this has become a life pattern, perhaps you see a string of broken relationships in your rear-view mirror.
This scenario may also be real if you have a long history of failed friendships, skipping from one job to another, or uncompleted tasks. Sure, it’s easy to blame the ex, your former bosses, or everyone else in your family and friends. Did you ever consider that you share some of the blame?
Of course, this doesn’t apply to toxic or abusive relationships, but you may have made poor choices along the way. It takes two to make a relationship and two to break it, so be woman or man enough in owning your mistakes.
Discovering how to be responsible for your shortcomings can make it less difficult to fix personal or professional relationships. Try to be a non-judgmental observer and see your place in the dilemma. Learning to share blame may take time, but it’s worth it.
4. Learn the Language of Problem Solving
Whether you have a problem at home or work, you’re never going to get anywhere by blaming everyone else and becoming a martyr. It only adds fuel to the fire and breaks down healthy communication.
Do you listen to yourself when you are talking to your family, friends, or coworkers about a problem or weakness? Avoid starting sentences with “You Always” or “You Never.” These toxic prefaces are classic blame shifters. You ALWAYS forget to check the calendar, or You NEVER let me know things in advance. It’s ALL your fault, and I BLAME you. Do these remarks sound familiar?
If you are partially or fully to blame, be strong, and own your mistake. Say things like, “Wow, I messed up on this, or I should have been more attentive to details, and it’s my fault.”
Review the problem together and see how things could have been done differently for a successful outcome.
5. Learn to Listen
There’s a big difference between hearing and listening. It goes against every grain of your fiber to listen to someone honestly pointing out your mistakes. The ability to take constructive criticism is a trait of a wise and experienced person.
Hold your tongue and listen to another person’s point of view instead of going on a rampage of self-defense and denial. When you truly listen with an open mind and empathy, it may open your eyes to what you are doing wrong and need to fix.
6. Learn How to Apologize
Yes, we often feel smug and self-righteous when blaming others for our mistakes. It’s especially satisfying if the situation truly was another person’s fault. When you shift the blame, you may be encouraged for a while, but you’ve not won a real victory.
Watch others’ reactions when you confess your faults and genuinely apologize. You garner respect from other people and for yourself when you take proper blame and ask forgiveness. We are all human, and we make mistakes, so learn how to admit, apologize, and learn from your blunders.
7. Learn from Your Mistakes
Einstein allegedly said insanity is to repeat the same actions and expect a different outcome. Once you’ve practiced how to own up to your weaknesses, learn from it, and find ways to remedy them. When you mess up and continue doing the same thing repeatedly, your apologies don’t mean much.
Maybe some of the problems in your personal and professional relationships stem from how you manage your time. Perhaps you are a perennial people pleaser and overextend yourself, so you don’t want to disappoint someone. Take full responsibility for your actions and work on changing how you do things in the future.
8. Learn to Let Go
How long have you nursed that grudge and pointed fingers at people for things that happened years ago? When you realize how your words and actions fit into the puzzle, it becomes easier to leave it in the past. It’s even truer when you’ve learned to recognize your faults and own up to your mistakes.
From now on, refuse to be bound by past blunders and failures and put them behind you. Even if someone is rightfully to blame for causing you grief, find the grace to forgive. Above all, learn to admit your faults, forgive yourself, and learn from past errors.
When it comes to the infamous blame game, nobody comes out a winner. If you’ve noticed a pattern of blaming others for everything that’s gone wrong, then it’s time to take a serious self-assessment. Owning your faults and inadequacies can help you overcome them, and you’ll gain more respect from others and for yourself.