Whose Fault is it, Anyway?

Oh, the blame game. We’ve all played it – something goes wrong, and regardless of whose fault it is (including ours), we immediately start trying to shift blame around. Find someone or something to point the finger at with confidence. Preferably, someone or something that isn’t ourselves.

This is an attitude that starts when we’re young. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s present in all children. Ask a child whose face is smeared with powdered sugar who ate the donut, and they’ll innocently shrug, or perhaps point to the dog. And when it’s little things like that, the blame game is funny. It’s cute, in a way. But the adorability quickly fades. Because children who never take responsibility for their actions – or children whose parents constantly reassure them that nothing is ever their fault – grow into adults who can’t take responsibility for their actions. And that’s when it isn’t funny anymore.

I’ve caught myself playing the blame game more than once. Sometimes it’s just outright absurd (like trying to tell myself that I didn’t deserve that parking ticket because hey, the sign should’ve been more clear! Or, I didn’t see the yellow line!) but even playing the game in the smallest of ways is doing ourselves a disservice. Because the more capable we are of taking responsibility for our actions- even the bad ones – the more able we are to change and evolve. It can be tough to admit when we’ve done wrong, or face up to the idea that we have to work on something, but that’s really the only thing propelling anyone forward. Change. Hopefully for the better.

As Millennials I think we’re often pegged as generation “not my fault”. In reality, I don’t know that our generation is that much different than any other that came before us. And while I like to think that we’ll all get better as we get older, the truth is that some people will probably never change – just as plenty of people in every generation never changed. There will always be someone with unnecessary credit card debt who blames the credit card company instead of working on their budgeting skills. There will always be someone who keeps getting fired from job after job and saying it was because of something the company did, not them. There will always be people looking for excuses. Your job is to not worry about them at all.

We are only responsible for ourselves, so own your blame-game moments. Be aware. Pay attention. Because sometimes yes, it really is someone else’s fault. And you can be righteously indignant to your heart’s content. But sometimes it isn’t. And you’ve got to look in the mirror to figure out how to fix the problem.

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