I don’t know about the rest of you but when things go wrong in my life I find it ever so easy to lay the blame elsewhere. Maybe it’s a natural inclination, we don’t like to think of ourselves as less than perfect and so when things don’t act accordingly it must certainly be someone else’s fault. There now, doesn’t that feel good?
Not really. You see, I’ve found that by laying that blame elsewhere it has a number of ill effects on me including:
- Feeling powerless
- Feeling victimized
- Feeling stuck and unable to move on
- It doesn’t change anything for me
Sure, in most situations there are other people involved. One doesn’t have a falling out with oneself. So, of course there are others to blame or fault or who have more responsibility. It’s easy to believe that your actions were a result of someone’s actions and therefore not really your fault if it goes ass over teacup. However, conflict cannot occur without at least two participants. Even under the best of circumstances both parties are equally responsible. But I’ll go one better – I think in the long run it’s better to just assume it’s all you. That you caused it, it’s your responsibility and others’ participation is irrelevant.
If you can take that view then at the very least you can do something about it. You can change your mind. You can adjust your point of view. You can vent and move on. You can change your approach. You can pretty much do anything when you make yourself in charge. And the truth is, about the only thing anyone is really in charge of is themselves. Because beyond that, there are always others involved. When others are involved, you don’t get to have your own way. You don’t get everything you want. And really even if you did get everything you wanted you might discover that you really didn’t want some of that stuff. Maybe you didn’t really want any of it.
Case in point – some time back I had a relationship that went terribly wrong. It was an utter shock to me and it took months for me to get over it. I was on a merry-go-round of ‘why’ questions that I asked myself daily. Why did he, why didn’t he, why can’t I….blah blah. But you know what, I realized just today that the problem was that I was asking myself the wrong questions. Because the questions I was asking were questions I could never get answered – so they could only be irrelevant. Then I started asking myself the right questions, ones I could answer. The questions centered around my actions and my motivations and I have to say I wasn’t too pleased about the answers. At least at first. But after I got over my self disappointment I just kind of shrugged and thought, ‘oh, I see.’
And I ended up relearning a truth I know and have known all along. The answer begins with you. If you don’t like your life you can change it. If you don’t like a situation, you can change it. If you don’t like anything, it can be different. You just have to ask yourself the right questions and be ready for the answers. And it’s a funny thing, when you change your mind, often magically others do too.