Placing Blame

It seems to be human nature that when something goes wrong, many people want to immediately figure out who is to blame.  Often times, people are quick to blame anyone and everyone else except themselves.  It’s easier that way, because then there is no apology necessary and no need to do anything differently the next time because we didn’t do anything wrong in the first place.  It is difficult for some people to look in the mirror and see someone who has flaws and doesn’t have all the answers.  The thing is, no one is perfect, and we all make mistakes.  It’s just that some people are willing to admit that and do something about it and others are not.

I am one who likes to figure out why things happen, so I do sometimes want to talk about what caused a certain chain of events to happen, but I am doing that with the intent on preventing the same negative chain of events from happening in the future. It’s not just about placing blame but figuring out what to do differently the next time.  Unfortunately, the rest of my family does not think the same way.  So things get interpreted as just criticisms rather than constructive criticisms.

There are things I could improve on as well that either I have realized on my own or someone has pointed out to me, and I am trying to work on those things.  Everyone has something they can improve.  Most of us have many things we could improve, but if you go through life thinking you don’t and aren’t willingt to admit that you were wrong or are at fault for something, then you become a very difficult person to be around on a regular basis.  And more importantly, things don’t ever improve.  You can only change for the better if you want to change, see the need for change, and are willing to admit what your shortcomings are in the first place.  If you don’t think you’re part of the problem, then you can’t be part of the solution.  This all goes back to being a team player and seeing the need to work together instead of against each other (See Competition vs. Cooperation for more thoughts on that).

Some people might argue that it’s pointless to figure out who is to blame for something because it only leads to more animosity, but I would disagree.  It might, depending on who the person is and how they choose to react to being told something is at least partially their fault.  But if that person repeatedly does something that inevitably leads to an argument or hurt feelings or is disrespectful and it happens frequently, then that should be discussed so perhaps it can stop happening.  It’s not a guarantee, but if it is never discussed, the chances are much smaller that it will stop happening on it’s own.

So instead of being defensive when it is brought to your attention that something might be your fault, consider it an opportunity to improve a situation or at least not repeat a negative situation, if you can internalize what the person is telling you and you are willing to work on making some improvements. If something truly isn’t your fault, then by all means, stand up for yourself, but don’t go through life thinking nothing is ever your fault.  If you need to apologize, do so sincerely, and try your best not to repeat the same mistake again.  And of course, if you are going to find fault in others, you need to also be good at owning your mistakes.

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