Now is the perfect time to stop blaming others and begin to accept responsibility for your life
I love the New Year.
It’s a time for fresh starts and endless possibilities. It’s a time to reflect back on what we may have done differently in the past and commit to a better life moving forward. When we make our New Year’s Resolutions we have good intentions to keep them. But when we break them — one by one, for whatever reason — why do we often blame others for our decision to not see our resolution through? And why do we tend to blame others for choices we alone make?
Everyone does it. You hear countless examples of this throughout the day; we’re so used to it, we actually nod along and agree with people. “It’s out of my control,” someone might say, even when it’s not. A friend recently told me they heard this from a client who owns a company and was blaming a subordinate for not allowing them, the owner, to make a big decision. Somehow we knew he was using this as an excuse because he didn’t want to be the “bad guy” and tell her she was going to lose his business. She was hurt and frustrated and wished he just ‘owned it’ by telling her the truth vs. playing the victim, as if he had no control.
Why do we do this? Why do we play a victim instead of owning our decisions?
I think some people don’t even realize they do this. It just comes naturally, because they are so use to blaming others for their circumstances or decisions.
So often as adults, we turn our power over to others and blame them for the state of our lives, like we had no choice in the situation. If you want to start taking control of your life, you need to learn emotional adulthood — the process of taking responsibility for all your thoughts, feelings and actions.
I’ll be the first to admit I blamed others for years for things in my life. Nothing was my fault; I had an excuse for everything and I exonerated myself from all responsibility. I was the youngest of six so I learned at an early age to blame my siblings for everything. I blamed people, places and things for everything I actually had control over, but unconsciously thought I didn’t. “I can’t help it, I’m Italian, I talk loud” is a small example of how I use to blame and give up control like I had no choice in the matter.
My parents (sorry Mom and Dad) were the people I blamed the most for my life circumstances. I’m sure I’m not the only one. But once we become adults, why do we keep blaming our parents for how we are now? Yes, our past contributes to our present being, but the past is over so why do we still drag it up, giving it more power than it deserves?
The new year is a great time to replace blame with ownership for who we are now.
When you make a decision (or even when you consciously don’t) — own it — don’t blame your spouse, your kids, your dog or whomever for why you did or didn’t do something. Stop being a victim when the only crime being committed is by you to you. We have more power over our lives than we give ourselves credit for, so how about using the New Year to make a commitment to YOU: Stop making excuses and own it!