Quit the Blame Game

Oct 26 , 2019
By Kidist Yidnekachew

I don’t know how many of us attribute our failures and misfortunes to other people and circumstances. It is safe to say I am one of those people. What I often attribute is actually my misfortunes and I usually blame other people.

It is usually petty stuff like I have indigestion and I blame my aunt for making me eat a big meal and insisted on feeding me even though I could have said no and refused to eat. I quit my job and it’s my then-boyfriend now husband’s fault because I could not focus on work and all I wanted to do was spend time with him. The real reason was I was unhappy with my job.

I couldn’t fall asleep because I have a lot on my mind and the TV happens to be on and something interesting caught my ears. Of course, I blame the damn TV for my lack of sleep.  I blame everyone including myself; at times more myself than others for my lack of call it purpose, money, job, wit and everything else I feel like I need to have in my life.

I also happen to know someone who attributes her misfortunes to others. For instance, last time this person was changing the light bulb, it exploded in her face. She was not hurt, but she was in shock. You would think this was an accident. But she was so angry that she started blaming the person who told her to buy the bulb in the first place. "If he hadn’t insisted I buy and change it, this would have never happened,” she said. She even made it sound like the guy purposely told her to buy and change the bulb knowing very well that the bulb was going to explode in her face - as if that was the grand design of the fellow. And being the hypocrite that I am, I said: “First of all, it isn’t his fault; and second of all, stuff happens. Get over it.” But later I found myself thinking if I would have reacted the same way to the problem. I might not have confronted the guy, but I would have made him responsible somehow, especially if the pieces of the bulb from the explosion had harmed me.

I was watching a show the other day that showed a surfer that was hit by a car when he was trying to run after another friend. Later he was taken to the hospital and was told he would never be able to surf again unless he got a very expensive surgery.

The surfer had his entire life planned out. He was going to get a scholarship and go to college and buy his mom a house. But life gets a mind of its own, and the universe has its own way of unfolding. These dreams did not happen for the surfer.

But when the friend came to the hospital to visit him, he was not mad at him. He did not blame him. He was grateful that his friend was trying to raise money for the surgery. Most of us in that position would have reacted differently. We would have said, “I am in this mess, because of you, and now I don’t have a future, which is your fault. You trying to raise money for my surgery doesn’t mean anything considering you're the one who caused the accident in the first place."

But not this guy, when asked what he planned to do now that surfing is out of the picture, he said, “find a way to get the surgery, get better and start surfing again. I am not going to give up.”

How many of us share this optimistic view with the surfer? How many of us take full responsibility for whatever happened to us and pick ourselves up and try again?

Because, come to think of it, blaming others for one’s misfortunes takes one nowhere. It is called a misfortune for a reason. Other people cannot really do anything about it even if they want to. You are the only person who can either make or break you. Yes, other people can help, but they cannot do the job for you.

The victim mentality will not get us anywhere, but reacting to our problem as one of the setbacks in life that we can overcome puts us in the driver’s seat. We can spin the wheel the way we like and know which routes to take to get to our destination. Of course, accidents happen, but these are glitches. I think life gets much better if we start taking credit for our failures instead of attributing them to other external factors we have no control over.

This does not mean one has to be overly self-critical and take the blame for everything that is wrong in life. There are certain things no one has control over and even some which are beyond one’s ability to perceive. However, for most things in life, human beings are the architects of their own lives if they choose to quit the blame game and take responsibility.

PUBLISHED ON Oct 26,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1017]

Kidist Yidnekachew is interested in art, human nature and behaviour. She has studied psychology, journalism and communications and can be reached at (kaymina21@gmail.com)

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