“What came over me? No. Seriously, something did come over me”.
“The problem with me is you.Really it is.”
“I didn’t know what I was doing.”
“It was the devil! No, God!”
“He gave me an F”
We are familiar with that part of us that relegates blame to some seen or unseen third party right? Perfect. I want to do a little talk on it. As some of my more assertive friends would say, ‘let us thrash this matter’, or at least, let us try to. There’s almost always no harm in trying out stuff (unless by trying out stuff, you mean trying out poisonous substances, or trying to see if a concentrated acid bath would do what it is said to do- in which case I cannot really assure you that there is no harm in trying- or other downright dangerous escapades)
WHO IS TO BLAME?
The first time I actively discussed this particular topic was some years ago during my internship when my fellow intern (name withheld 🙂 ) proposed a theory. Which is not in any way new, I must add.
“We should all take responsibility for our actions and conditions. The world would be a better place if we learned to do this” He said. “Man is getting too used to blaming others for his misfortune. In his own eyes, he is absolutely blameless”. I was not overly impressed with my colleague’s speech, because I felt that, surely, I was not guilty of pushing the blame to other people. In fact, I saw myself as someone who actively tried not to put the blame on others. Or, was I?
My intern friend gave me an example of what he meant.
“When you are holding a book,” he said “and it falls down, what do you usually say has happened?”
“You say, ‘my book has fallen down’… Right?”
“That’s it!” He exclaimed “Now, with that statement, you are indirectly implying that your book, which is inanimate, suddenly acquired a life of its own, and left your hand of its own accord, then, fell down. All by itself. You are suggesting that it was the book’s own fault”
Not sure what to reply, I listened.
“The appropriate thing to say would be ‘I dropped my book’. See? …taking responsibility!”
I saw the subtle blame shift and got more than a little interested in this matter. This sweet blame shift game we play as humans. We did not misplace our keys, rather, our keys got lost. We do not cook bad food; the food just turns out bad. The reason our car didn’t start this morning is the government. My primary school teacher is the reason I suck at music!
ANYWAYS, WHY SHOULDN’T I BLAME OTHERS? WHO’S GAINING?
Still, one wonders what exactly would be the point of not making it a point of duty to assign blame on everyone else but ourselves.
I have a few ideas …
First, mentally, we become directly responsible for our acts. Imagine if we stopped blaming the education system for our personal shortcomings as students and blamed instead our lack of adequate work? Imagine if we stopped blaming our genes for our obesity and instead blamed junk consumption?
We become aware that the power is in our hands; and that is the one of the first steps towards change, I believe; knowing you can.
Imagine if we stopped blaming our past for our present mistakes, if we instead blamed our current ineptitudes on our present. What happens is we stop believing that they belong to a realm which we cannot control due to its being extinct and realize that we have the ability to influence them now!
The ‘energy’, time and intellectual resource used in apportioning blame (Even when we really feel/know the other person is rightly to be blamed) might do better things if directed at more constructive exploits. I think.
The Original post first appeared on my old blog. This is an edited version.