Responsibility and blame line up at the start of the race – both look on top form and both have their own band of supporters. They are on the starting blocks………..and then they are off. Blame gets off to a good start, with responsibility close behind. It’s a close battle at the beginning of the race and blame,fueled by anger and self pity, steams forward inching away from responsibility, however responsibility has maintained an even pace and manages to overtake and surpass blame, sprinting towards the finish and with a clear vision of success in mind, crosses the line and takes first place. A race well run with the only true contender winning.
As a therapist I deal with many people who suffer from a myriad of issues ranging from lack of self esteem to bad habits to excessive eating and before I can help any of them, they need to accept responsibility for there issue and for any subsequent changes. This does not mean that they are to ‘blame’ for their issues it simply means they need to acknowledge that in order to change they have to accept that they can not keep on going the way they are going.
For example, I often hear from clients who are overweight that it is because of ‘hormonal issues’ or ‘it’s in their genes’ or that they ‘love food’ or ‘they kids love this food’ but they do not acknowledge that it is anything that they are doing that is causing them to be overweight (research also shows that that very few people have what is often referred to as the ‘fat’ gene). So how can I help someone who blames their genes or the fact that they love food and don’t wish to change their eating habits? I can’t!
However if an overweight client comes in and admits that they have several issues with food that they wish to address then I can certainly help them and they can help themselves too because they have admitted responsibility for their weight. They have chosen to overeat or to eat unhealthily, and it may well have been something they were ‘taught’ as a child, but as an adult they can choose to change or continue to blame someone else for their being overweight. It is a choice. We can take responsibility for who we are and who we wish to become and we can acknowledge that what we do is not working therefore we need to change something to make it work.
Taking responsibility for our lives is incredibly empowering and instead of blaming God, the kids, your parents etc for what is wrong in your life, isn’t it about time you took responsibility for how you behave? Of course you may well suffer from anxiety or low self esteem if you lived with domineering or critical parents, but is you continue to blame your parents for your low self esteem you stay in victim mode and you maintain your low self esteem. So does blame really improve your life in anyway or does it give you the easy option of staying where you are and avoiding change?
Yes your parents could have contributed to your low self esteem however as an adult you have to accept responsibility for yourself for who you are now. That may mean that you can acknowledge that events or people in your past contributed towards your lack of confidence or anxiety etc however as an adult you now have the choice whether to continue blaming the past or move forward qand improve your future.
Responsibility features very much is all adult relationships too and I quite often see clients who wish to increase confidence or feel better about themselves after years in an abusive or controlling relationship. In any adult relationship be it love, work or friendship you have to accept 50% of the responsibility for that relationship.
Yes it may be that your partner is physically and emotionally abusive and he/she may be the ‘bad’ one in the relationship, but by staying in the abusive or controlling relationship and allowing your partner to continue the abuse you are just as responsible as they are for the state of your relationship. Both parties are equally responsible however for the victim it is very important that they realize that they have a choice. They can either allow the abuse to continue and blame the perpetrator for their awful life or they can refuse to allow the abuse to continue and either leave or get help and thus accept responsibility for their life and their well being.
Whilst you can change who you are you can not change other people unless they accept your help and in order to do this they need to accept responsibility for where they are in their lives too.
Anger is another great excuse for people to play the blame game and I have come across many angry people in my life! (I too have given in to anger but at least I can see who is to blame!). Anger masks another emotion, usually fear, and is used as a defense mechanism to protect against emotional hurt and in some cases too, to avoid the individual acknowledging that they are unhappy in their lives. How many times do you hear people blame others for losing control? ‘It’s your fault that I am angry!’ they shout but is it the other persons fault that you lost control? Absolutely not!
We control how we feel and if we chose to let someone upset us then we are to ‘blame’. We can either ignore hurtful words or respond to them angrily, either way it is our choice how we react. We can stay in control or we can let the other person take control by responding negatively.
If you suffer from depression, anxiety, anger, negativity, worry – then take responsibility for how you are feeling today and tomorrow you can change your life by changing how you feel. Your thoughts make you who you are and only you (with some help if you require it) can change your thoughts. Stop blaming your mum or partner or siblings or work colleagues and take the initiative to take back responsibility and change your life. You will feel so much better! It may take time but believe you me, it is well worth it!