The blame game

Be honest. We’ve all played it. Blaming somebody else for our unhappiness or our upset. Feeling wronged by another and righteous in our indignation. “You make me so mad!” “It’s not my fault” “If only you would have…” But what happens when we do this? When we put the fault into someone else’s hands? Well, first of all, it makes us feel like crap. We may think we deserve our upset. Well, we may have a good reason to be upset, but one could argue that we actually do not deserve to be upset. We really deserve to be free of the upset and to let it go so we can move on. While it might be easier said then done, in truth, all it takes is awareness. Once we become aware of what we are doing – letting someone else have control over our feelings – we can take steps to get back in control of our emotions. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking ourselves “Do I really want to be this upset right now? What can I do to feel better?”

The second, and possibly more important thing to consider is, what happens to our personal power when we blame someoneone else for the problems we are having and the way we are feeling? Essentially, we are handing our power right over to the other person. If we aren’t taking responsibility for being upset, then how can we ever hope to fix it? If we are blaming others, waiting for others to do for us, or asking someone else to make us happy, then we are playing the role of victim. Luckily, once we realize that we are in charge of the way we feel, we can make the choice to feel better. We step out of the victim role and take back our power. At this point we become free to choose whatever good things we want in our lives. This may be as simple as refocusing on our favorite song playing on the radio, or as large as telling ourselves we can accomplish our dreams and goals if we just keep moving forward one small step at a time.

My son and I were at a wonderful event today. We went to hear his favorite author speak, Rick Riordon. As soon as we heard about it, we looked up information and called the bookstore in hopes we could secure a ticket. The paper didn’t say you had to get a ticket, but it did say you could call. Riordon is one of the most popular children’s authors right now, so we crossed our fingers that we could get a ticket and were so happy when we found out we could. We got to the event a little early so we could get a good seat. It was all very exciting. A little while later I left the building to get something and found myself back in line, a few minutes before the author was about to come on stage. There was a man in front of me, who when he heard the event was sold out, exclaimed “This is ridiculous!” He was red in the face and very angry. His young son said to him “This isn’t fair!” I was at first a little surprised. Why would anyone show up 15 minutes before a major author was supposed to speak and expect that there would be tickets left for them? But then, I was just sad for them. Not only were they going to miss out on seeing someone they admired, but they were going to leave feeling victimized. What lesson would it have been for his child to hear his father say “Oh well, we tried and it didn’t work out. I’m sorry. Next time we’ll remember to plan ahead.” They would have left disappointed, but known they would have a plan to prevent this from happening again. Instead, his child left feeling sad and at the mercy of an unfair world.

Victims don’t get far, but they sure go a long way with their sadness and anger. Next time you’re feeling someone or something is to blame for your upset, maybe ask yourself, “what is my role in this?” Once you’ve figured that out you can take the steps you need to feel better. It’s a simple truth, happy people are not victims. Happy people make a choice to be happy and content with what they have, even in the midst of adversity. Victims, on the other hand, do not choose; they give up their power and put themselves at the mercy of others. Sometimes the choice really is as simple as that, “Do I want to be happy or sad right now?” Which would you rather be? Of course, we all know the answer to that question, don’t we? They key is remembering we have the choice.

I just read this post to my son and asked him what he thought. He said,”It’s totally true, Mom.” Then, with his astonishing 12-year-old insight, he told me about how upset he’d been at the end of the lecture that I didn’t get a good photo of him with Riordon at the book signing. I remembered it clearly. He was so mad at me. He’d told me that I had ruined everything! Then he realized that he’d actually had a great day up to that point and that, while he was disappointed, he was going to let it go so he could remember what a great day he had and what a great evening he was looking forward to. I smiled and said “yup, that’s what I’m talking about…” That’s my boy! (Of course, I wish I’d taped the conversation for future evidence, as the teenage years are approaching!)

The blame game? Clearly not a game worth playing. But then again, the choice is yours…

Be happy and well,
Sari Roth-Roemer


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