The Blame Game

The Blame Game

It’s easy to point fingers when you get called out or screw up big-time. However, by blaming others, you aren’t doing yourself any favours. In fact, by diverting culpability, you’re actually depriving yourself of personal growth opportunities. The first step towards creating change is being totally honest about yourself, to yourself, in every aspect of your life.

Blaming is about insecurities. Here’s how to break that negative cycle and move on:

Start finding solutions to problems, rather than culprits. All human beings make mistakes – but identifying the culprit won’t fix the problem that was caused by the error. When you’ve slipped up, admit it immediately, but also open the gate to the next step: “I’m sorry I made that mistake – I would never have done it intentionally. Let’s talk about what I can do to fix it.” Far from an admission of weakness, this is a statement of strength that puts you back in control. Your honesty and courage in owning your mistake will also gain you respect.

Give others grace (even when they don’t deserve it). It’s difficult not to become defensive when someone angry is pointing a finger at you, but don’t allow a confrontation to escalate into a full-on feud. Give the person grace by suggesting the conversation’s deferred until you’ve both cooled down. If that’s not possible, remain calm and controlled and avoid using pejorative language or sarcasm. This will instantly force the other person back into rational mode as well. You can never control what others do or say, but you can control the way you handle it.

Remove the emotion. Emotions drive more of your decisions than you realise. Looking at a situation objectively and logically usually reveals the way out of it. Ask yourself why someone’s blaming you for something and analyse the situation from their perspective. If you can practise empathy, you may be able to help solve their problem instead of reflecting blame back on them.

Think ahead. Ask yourself: “Will this incident impact my life in five years’ time?” If not, it’s not worth getting worked up over. Reduce it to its correct proportions and downsize your reaction accordingly.

This is an edited version of Brian Parsley‘s article from the March issue of Sawubona magazine (download here, for free).

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