I have a very vivid recent memory of my sister falling up the staircase at our parent’s home because she had tripped over my youngest sister’s books. She had been texting while walking, in all honesty, and wasn’t looking where she was going, but she immediately turned to yell at my littlest sister for leaving her books on the stairs.
Although it seems like a simple enough situation, the immediate reaction of the sister who fell provides me with an example of a very common behavior that people tend to let go by unnoticed in their daily lives: playing the blame game. I’ve been guilty of doing it plenty of times, and I’m sure that if you think hard enough, you’ll be able to admit to doing so, too. When we are faced with a mistake, it’s scary to look ourselves in the eyes and say “Hey, you. You messed up.” When we struggle to face reality or when we get angry or upset, it’s very easy to project our frustration onto someone or something else.
Being constantly defensive and refusing to accept our own faults may cause us to suffer by feeling like we always have to prevent others from criticizing us. By trying to avoid feelings of inadequacy, we may be creating a paranoia of ever being wrong. In the long run, this hinders our potential for growth as human beings. How can we ever change if we never accept that a possibility for change even exists?
We are all human. We make mistakes. By blaming others for our faults, we may constantly grate on those around us. We may damage our relationships with others in this way. We may also cause ourselves unnecessary unhappiness. Being able to accept a mistake and move on is much more satisfying in the long-run than denying it and feeling the need to prove your perfection. Striving for perfection is a recipe for dissatisfaction with oneself. Embrace your faults, and grow.
Okay, so you’re ready to be happier and accuse less. Now what? Here’s how to start letting go of the blame game:
- Realize and accept that it just isn’t fun anymore. This is probably the least fun game you could possibly play, but that people continue to engage in anyway. Ask yourself why and then revel in the lack of a sensible answer.
- Make a commitment to change. Playing the blame game is a habit. It’s a nasty, nasty habit. Make a pact with yourself to break it. You can do it, I believe in you.
- Acknowledge your mistakes. As you go along with your day, try to be aware of when you’re blaming others for feeling unhappy or messing up. Then, in those moments, make an attempt to accept that there might be a possibility that you contributed to the situation.
- Forgive yourself and let go. It’s okay not to be perfect. Imperfect people are happier, anyway, because they always have room to improve. So give others a break and yourself room to stretch. Forgive your mistakes and instead focus on the lessons to be learned. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Only when you’re able to truly let go of the blame game will you be one step closer to a life of satisfaction and personal well-being. It’s not an easy change to make in your life, I can attest to that, but it is definitely worth all the effort in the end.