Friday, September 23, 2011

The dangers of the blame game

Recently, I heard someone singing Kelly Clarkson's well-known song, "Because of You". It's essentially a song that blames someone else for all of the singer's problems, and it was a huge hit just a few years ago. I think it was a hit because it reflects the feelings of many in our society, of every person who feels like they are a victim of someone else's abuse.  Our society has become a nation of people who blame others for their problems.

I grew up in an abusive home. I've been abandoned, neglected, and harmed by those I cared about most. Those are facts I cannot change, but how I live my life and what I do about what happened is all up to me. I choose whether I build walls to keep out the pain, or acknowledge that pain on some level is an unavoidable part of being in any human relationship and choose to forgive the past so I can live in the future.  I choose whether I refuse to take risks because sometimes I get hurt, or go ahead and take the risks because the gain is worth the pain. I choose whether I take the worst lessons from my past and apply them to my future, or whether I take the best out of what was bad and bring that with me leaving the rest behind. I could live my life angry because of what happened yesterday, or choose to forgive the mistakes of the past and move forward with my life.  I choose, not anyone else.  Whatever choices I make, I will live with the consequences.

Ms. Clarkson is young, and undoubtedly has a lot to learn about life. Unfortunately, there are too many who are much older and should know better but don't. The biggest problem with the blame game is the way that it blinds you to the choices you have about how to take control of your life.  For example, I used to work for a lady who was forever late and always blamed traffic for the problem. Since she had assigned blame to this entity known as traffic, she never bothered to examine her own behavior to see if there was something she could do about the problem to get around traffic.  Her problem solving skills were of no use, because she couldn't see herself as part of the equation. The minute you begin to blame someone else for where you are in life, that's the minute you lose control over where your life is going.  The greatest tragedy in life isn't the bad things that happen to you, it's giving up control of your life to those bad things and allowing them to steer your life in the wrong direction.

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