Episode 17: Kick the Blaming Habit
Blaming others is easy but it never solves the problem. No one wins at playing the blame game so why do we still do it? Come learn how to kick the blaming habit for good and find out what the ultimate power move is instead. Tune in to The Confidence Catalyst Podcast with LDS Life Coach Hannah Coles and learn more!
I’m Hannah Coles and you are listening to The Confidence Catalyst Podcast episode 17: Kick the BLAMING habit
Hey welcome back everyone! So nice to be here with you all again. I just got back from a very fun, exhausting week at girls camp. If you’re unfamiliar with girls camp it’s an opportunity for the 12-18 year old girls to get together for a week to really be themselves away from their routine, the world and to be able to build friendships, and cultivate and strengthen their faith. It’s always amazing to be a part of and it’s always so nice to come home afterwards too.
Because you’re at a camp with hundreds of youth and adults with all varying personalities you’re going to encounter some kind of friction here or there and really, the camp was great with minimal and short lived encounters but one thing I noticed was how easy it can be to quickly place the blame elsewhere when you’re not happy. And this isn’t just at camp but everywhere. We tend to want to place blame on just about everything at times.
We somehow fell into this thinking trap that we’re entitled to certain things. We feel entitled to a peaceful life, happy kids, understanding and sensitive friends, a supportive family, easy trials, pleasant weather, all kinds of things, right? And when we don’t get these things we start entering the blame game.
We start placing blame on outside sources. We blame our family for not being there when we needed them or our parents for our bad habits. We blame genetics for our body’s response to food. We blame our friends for not supporting us or saying the right thing at the right time. If we’re not enjoying the program or event we start blaming the people who are supposed to be in charge. When we don’t feel good in our bodies we start blame the food we eat. We place blame on everything.
We blame the weather for ruining our vacation. We blame the government, the media, the sports industry, the neighbor across the street. We even blame God a lot of the time for our discomfort and unhappiness.
So good at the game
We’re really skillful at this blame game and no one and nothing seems to be exempt. What’s interesting though is if you asked anyone they’d agree that life doesn’t go according to plans. Even day to day things, the schedules get off the mark sometimes, plans change, people cancel and we know this happens. We’d all agree but yet when it does we fall prey to this blaming habit. It’s kind of default when you’re intentionally aware of what’s happening and as a result you feel frustrated, angry, disappointed, and stuck – it’s not pretty and good news, it’s optional.
Learning to kick the blaming habit will transform your life for the better and I mean TRANSFORM. Since we know that everyday we’re going to presented with many opportunities to be flexible and be able to go with the flow – or what I really like to think instead is to create the flow it’s important to learn what’s happening in our minds, why we default into blame, and how we can kick that habit so we can create the kind of day we want to have despite all the surprises that happen along the way.
What is blame?
What is blaming anyway? Googles definition of blame is, “Assigning responsibility for a fault or a wrong”
We humans are always trying to make sense of things. We want to understand why things happened the way they did or do. We want to make sense of it and when things aren’t going the way we planned or you’re not getting what you wanted we start assigning responsibility to outside sources. But this assigning responsibility thing is where we tend to get ourselves into a world of drama and trouble because more often than not we’re assigning it to the wrong source and when we do we become stuck.
Blaming is easy to do. Blaming others even feels good temporarily. It takes all the problem, all the negative away from you and when you assign that responsibility to another you now have a villain to direct all your negative energy and focus towards.
It’s not your fault. It’s them, they did this and so you feel justified in your frustration or anger.
It also serves as an illusionary protection for ourselves especially when we’re in charge or something – even if it’s something like getting your kids to church on time. When things don’t go according to plan we want blame others as a protection for ourselves.
“It’s not me. It’s because this person did this or they did that and if they hadn’t done it this way then…”
But I really like what Louis Nizer once said. He says, “When a man points the finger at someone else, he should remember that three of his fingers are pointing at himself.”
It’s the kids…not me
Sunday mornings and getting the kids ready and out the door has always been a challenge for us. It’s funny too because we’re early risers and any other day we’re up and ready way before church time but Sunday’s we have this thought that we’re entitled to a restful and leisurely morning so then we’re scrambling to get out the door and to church on time and the blame game us usually in full force.
It’s because so in so couldn’t find their shoes. It’s because I have to sub for class that I had to make copies the day of. It’s because one of the kids didn’t brush their hair or teeth or whatever. And for years I created this blaming habit of it’s the kids, the calling, the responsibilities, the meetings, etc and it drove me crazy when well intended people would comment, “well I just had them all set their things out the night before – have you tried that honey?”
I was like grrr…please stop talking to me. But really as I was pointing the blame finger at everyone else I really did have three of my own fingers pointing right back at me because when we’re blaming we’re giving up all power to others and then using them as an excuse to feel bad instead of assigning responsibility to myself.
No one likes to point the blame finger back at themselves but that’s the only place you have power and control to do anything. Brene Brown says she’d rather it be her fault than no one’s fault, “because when it’s my fault I have some semblance of control”.
It turns the “This is wrong and shouldn’t be this way and I can’t fix it” to “this didn’t turn out the way I thought it would. What can I do better next time?”
It’s so much better to take ownership and responsibility for the outcomes than to blame others. If you think about the model the last part of it is your results. What you are creating. And it’s always you creating your results. So anytime you’re blaming you’re wanting to put someone else in your r line but when you stop and look at the model correctly you’ll see that 100% of the time it’s you and your thinking that created those results.
It’s your thinking that someone should have done something differently that creates the frustration and then when you’re frustrated the actions that follow that, huffing and puffing, snapping at those in proximity to you and because of this chain of events you’ve created this reality for yourself.
I create my outcome
So instead of blaming others it’s always good to recognize that if you’re unhappy with the results you have – you’re the only one that can fix that – you’re the only one that has control and ability to create a different outcome.
We want to blame the circumstances but we forget that the circumstances are neutral. They don’t mean anything until you make it mean something. Taking that ownership back drives your actions.
Should to How
It’s switching the “They should have” thoughts to “How can I” questions.
At camp some of the girls being in a leadership role had the experience where not everyone loved everything they did and they had positive and negative feedback. It was easy to lean into the blame habit and think they should have told us more of what they wanted. They should have given us more time. They should have…and all this does it create more negative feelings which drives negative actions, which produces negative results. So instead we could turn all the “they should have’s” to “How can I prepare more thoroughly next time?”, “How can I make this the best activity for this large group of people?”, “How can I use this experience to help me instead of hurt me?”
These thoughtful and intention driven questions create a completely different experience than just feeling terrible and blaming and stuck. But we all do it. We all fall into the blaming habit. I bet if you really were intentional today and noticed your thoughts you’re falling prey to the blaming habit more than you realize. It’s not a bad thing – awareness is pivotal to creating the change you want in your life. Notice when you’re complaining or blaming and make the quick switch from all the should and entitled expectations to an opportunity for growth and learning by asking, “How can I?”
Anytime there’s blame there’s a missed opportunity for growth and learning. Think about this, if you’re blaming an outside source then there’s no reason for you to do anything differently. It’s not, it’s them right?
Cycle of blame
It’s not my fault the kids aren’t ready every Sunday. It’s them. It’s they shoes, their missing socks. I don’t have to change, it’s them. But…every Sunday we’re also creating this cycle of negativity and blame and we’re stuck. So until I use that experience as information and an opportunity for growth and learning and change it to, “how can we make Sunday mornings more enjoyable and efficient?” Now there’s inquiry and exploration for all of us. There’s positive feelings, positive forward moving actions, and best of all positive results.
Take responsibility for your emotions. If you’re unhappy it’s never the circumstance. You’re unhappy because you had an expectation. You had a, “They should” belief and maybe you want to question that. Do you still want to keep that belief? Is it still serving you? Is it creating the results you want in your life?
Assigning the responsibility to yourself is the ultimate power move. It gives you all the power to create the reality you want to live in. Remember all “shoulds” are just thoughts and opinions. Maybe you want to spend some time there thinking, pondering, deciding if you like that should still or if you want to drop it, alter it, or change it.
Strength not weakness
Taking responsibility is a strength. Blaming is weakness. It’s full of holes and vulnerabilities. If you can take responsibility – and not in an eyor kind of way – “I’m the one to blame” and fall into self-pity but responsibility from an empowered stance. “I didn’t like how that turned out. What can I do now? How can I move forward? How can this experience benefit me? How was this the perfect opportunity for me?”
It’s a game changer and one that inspires confidence. A huge part of confidence is being able to trust in yourself and in your abilities. When you take responsibility you’re able to trust that you’re going to be okay no matter what happens. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are because you know that no matter what, you’re going to use this as information and start making a plan on how to improve. There’s no fear that you’re stuck and waiting for someone else to fix it because you’re there. You fix it.
It also allows others to see that another option is available. They don’t have to blame others either. They can see how good taking responsibility feels and how empowering it is.
Building a life that matters
Steve Goodier said, “An important decision I made was to resist playing the Blame Game. The day I realized that I am in charge of how I will approach problems in my life, that things will turn out better or worse because of me and nobody else, that was the day I knew I would be a happier and healthier person. And that was the day I knew I could truly build a life that matters.”
You are the catalyst for the change you want in your life. The confidence you desire is within your reach and grasp but you have to learn to stop playing the blame game and start assigning the responsibility to the only person that has the power to change it – you.
There are things out of your control. You can’t change the weather. You can’t control what another person says, thinks, or does. But you have absolute control and power over what you will think about those circumstances. It’s not a problem unless you make it a problem.
The weather doesn’t have to ruin your vacation. Another persons disappointment doesn’t have to disable you – in fact, it can’t because it’s not the outside source that creates how you feel, how you act, and what results you create. It’s all your thoughts and interpretations about those circumstances.
Instead of thinking, “It should be sunny today and not raining on my vacation!” You can make that shift to, “How can I enjoy this rain today? How can this rain be perfect for my trip and experience?” It takes the blame off of the outside source to which you can’t control and gives you all your power back by letting you exercise your agency to decide how you want to experience your reality.
You are the catalyst
I’m telling you, ultimate power move – take responsibility and stop blaming outside sources. Kick the habit by becoming aware of when you’re blaming. Decide intentionally to change your inner dialogue about it – stop the shoulds and start with the how’s. As Rob Liano said, “Stop blaming and start aiming”
You have more power than you realize. You are the catalyst. You can get to create your own world, your own experiences your own happiness and confidence. Okay, all…have a fantastic week and I’ll catch you next time!