When Is Blaming Permitted?

Most of us are very gifted at finger-pointing. “It’s my wife, my kids, my family…” We blame everyone else. In relationships, the other person is the one that needs to change. We live in a culture of blame.

Finger pointing, victimhood, blaming, and expecting others or the government to solve our problems is one of the maladies of humanity. If you’ve ever blamed the traffic for being late or decided that you’re in a bad mood because of something your kid, spouse, or co-worker did then you’re blaming. And, you’re not taking 100% of the responsibility.

We can’t do that in this age. We’re giving away our power if we do. We’re giving away our ability to change ourselves and the world.

Don’t deny you didn’t make a mistake. Don’t justify or lie about it. Detach yourself from that noise. Take 100% responsibility for everything you experience. Completely own all your choices and all your responses to whatever happens. Be responsible for what you did and didn’t do. No matter what happened to you —good or bad, victory or defeat— take responsibility. The old saying goes, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” Do this and you hold power.

Eliminate all of your excuses: circumstances, the wrong situation, lack of luck. These aren’t what matters. It doesn’t matter who’s president, how badly the economy sucks, or what anybody said, did or didn’t do. As Benjamin Disraeli said, “Man is not the creature of circumstances, circumstances are the creatures of men.” At the end of the day, we’re still 100% in control of ourselves. By choosing to liberate yourself from your past, present, and future victimhood, you’ve hit the jackpot!

Whenever we feel pain we have three choices:

  1. Blame someone or something (like an event). Your reason for blaming might be absolutely true but it results in little change. In fact, even if blaming is right, you may still end up with the same problem with a different person. Don’t leave yourselves at the mercy of outside events over which you have no control.
  2. Blame someone who isn’t there. You can’t do this because the person can’t even defend themselves.
  3. Blame yourself. Most people believe that it’s because they’re irresponsible, not intelligent, or a born failure. This doesn’t help. You’re just beating yourself up. As long as you blame yourself, you’ll never change. The faster you get out of this trap, the faster you’ll grow.

Blame will never empower us, it reinforces this idea that the outside world controls you.

Don’t deny you didn’t make a mistake. Don’t justify it or lie about it. We were born to make mistakes. And by making more mistakes, being honest about them and learning from them, we’ll go farther than anyone. However, people who are afraid of making mistakes fall farther and farther behind even though they may have the right answers.

Mistakes are how we learn. They carry gems of wisdom. The only way forward is to minimize mistakes as time goes on, not to eliminate them. So, let’s go back and find out what mistakes you’ve made. And, make more mistakes!

The reason I’m where I am today is because I’m willing to make mistakes, take more risk, tell the truth, correct myself and move forward again. In other words, I don’t blame. The day you graduate from this victimized blaming mindset you turn into an adult —and a leader. 

To your success,
Nikhil Mahadea