It’s my upbringing, or my personality, or the government, or that girl, or… here are 7 things people always blame.
In Australia, we pride ourselves on being what we call Aussie battlers. There’s always something we’re struggling against. I’m always telling foreigners who come to visit our country that almost everything can kill you. When they ask for the list, it goes something like – funnelweb spiders, redbacks, great white sharks, stingrays, dingoes, taipans, fierce snakes, brown snakes, fire tornadoes in the Simpson Desert, floods, bushfires, conefish, box jellyfish, kangaroos (if they kick you or hit your car), stagnant water… mate, everything’s out to get us.
Or is it?
Sure, in Australia there may be about 30 animals that are looking to terminate your life at any given moment, and I’m sure your country may have several dangerous animals or pitfalls too, but a lot of us live our lives on edge. We’re constantly blaming something or someone for the way things are turning out. We all know people who are like that, and it’s probably fair to say that we’ve been people like that at some point.
Looking at my own life lately and thinking about others I know who sound off their criticisms and feelings, here are 7 things people always blame. Can you relate to any of these?
#1: My personality
This is the one that got me thinking about this topic the most, as I’ve heard many people recently cite their personality as the reason why they can’t do certain things. Well, I can’t be too outgoing or involved in people’s lives cause I’m too introverted. I can’t sit still and rest cause it’s my nature to always be up and at it. I can’t speak in public cause I’m too shy. I can’t be generous to others because it doesn’t come natural to me. It’s not my personality.
Or at least that’s what we say.
For me, I’ve always been quite an interesting personality. My parents always joke around that I was born 40. My Myers Briggs assessment over multiple tests over the last 15 years has consistently turned up an INFJ. By nature, I am actually quite shy and reserved, and recharge away from large groups. Not everyone immediately sees it, but people who have small nerdy traits in them discover I am actually a super nerd on a number of topics, from different video games to movies to theology to programming. I have a lot of things “naturally” about myself that would keep me back from a lot of the things I do with my life today.
And I’ve had to work at it to be outgoing and involved and present in other people’s lives. I believe it’s a call on my life, and even though it doesn’t come naturally, I believe that my behaviour isn’t completely fixed by my personality. I have tendencies, but I can also learn and develop new ones. My behaviours and choices aren’t set because some group of psychologists put me in a box that tells me the things I’m only able to do.
#2: My upbringing
Uh oh. Here’s a biggie. And we’re only up to number 2.
What was your childhood like? They say most people spend their adult years getting over their formative years. If it was an environment of chaos, it can be seen that people knowingly or unknowingly try to replicate an environment of chaos in their homes in their adult life. If there was a lot of yelling, people can be quite reserved. If you didn’t receive the opportunities you wanted, you can grow up feeling like you’ve missed out on a lot.
I don’t think anyone’s childhood was perfectly ideal. Although my own childhood was pretty great, I, like you, have had my fair share of ups and downs, and I was responsible for causing ups and downs for the upbringing of others too.
It’s sad to think of how many opportunities to progress and chances to grow we cut short because we’re still blaming what happened when we were young.
I love a scene in The King’s Speech where the king’s speech therapist finally finds the deeper reason behind King George’s stutter (spoilers). It turns out his father and his nannies would mistreat him and belittle him for all his early years. His therapist, Lionel, says something profound that all of us should keep in mind around upbringing:
You don’t have to be afraid of the things you were afraid of when you were five.
Also, fantastic movie.
#3: The government
Hah, not much to say on this one. But take a look on your social media around any election time, around any controversial new law, or when any one is trying to make significant progress. It’s always the government somehow that’s holding us back, right?
If you’re a politician, I salute you. Not an easy job at all.
#4: My boss
Another one that doesn’t need too much more said on it. It’s amazing how many times I go out to a client, or even within the companies I have worked for, and people are completely disenfranchised and hating their job because of any little thing their boss does that they don’t like.
Or maybe it is the boss’s fault. Either way, the person in charge is always going to be met with the blame. If you want to progress through the ranks and start to take more senior positions in your company, be ready to deal with the blame game.
#5: My significant other
They say the ones closest to us hurt us the most. And they’re right. The reason being because we don’t usually have a wall of protection keeping these people out – they usually have full access to our hearts.
So when he says no, or she isn’t interested, or he breaks a promise, or she’s unfaithful, or he wasn’t there for you, or she isn’t listening – it can be some of the worst pain you can experience.
And many people never move past the relational pain in their lives. I know there have been times in my life where I’ve been really cut deep by people I’ve cared about – sometimes through something they did directly, but also times where they didn’t even do anything at all. I always remember a time in my life where a girl I was mega keen on didn’t want to continue on in the same direction. In my own head, I was hammering myself and probably using the situation as an excuse. All the things she thought of me and how little I felt about myself. And then I had a voice come into my mind… “Hey Matty, she never said anything bad about you, did she?”. Nope, quite the opposite in fact. The one who was saying the negative things about me was me.
And I wonder how many times it’s our own minds that keep up the things that the person you care about “apparently said”. Maybe they did say something to hurt you, maybe they didn’t. Either way, I think our blame is often the only thing that keeps those negative sentiments alive.
#6: The devil
This one is mainly for the religious people out there. Or even if you’re not religious, you may have heard or used this one before. After all, “the devil is in the details”. Is he really?
You know, I actually do believe there are spiritual forces at work in all our lives – some that strive to lead us towards the truth, and others that try to lead us towards destruction.
But I also think that we use this line quite a bit, especially for things that were our responsibility.
It’s the devil’s fault you’re feeling lonely… or maybe, it’s because you’re shutting people out and not spending quality time with anyone. It’s the spirits that are stealing my wealth… or maybe it’s my bad decisions and lack of financial planning. It’s the forces of evil that have destroyed my health… or maybe it’s some of my bad habits.
Guess you need the right discernment to be able to tell which force is at work in your life.
I want to be really real here. A lot of the times, we say, “people will blame everyone else but themselves”.
I’d like to point out that usually people sound like they’re blaming everyone else because they can’t handle the level of blame and shame they’re already hammering themselves with.
All the decisions you didn’t make. You wish you’d said yes. You wish you’d said no. You can’t believe you chose the path you did. You’re not the man you know you’re supposed to be. You feel like the worst woman alive. You feel like a lousy friend. You feel like an insignificant leader.
I don’t think blame is the right way to address the areas of our life that are lacking. I think it’s more productive to refocus on the calling on our life, to take some time and get centered again in our identity. Instead of going nuts with the blame and the guilt trip, to use wisdom and take responsibility of the things in our life that are in our control.
And though we can’t control the way others have treated us, we definitely can control our response.
Who am I? What is my purpose in this world?
Can you relate to any of these? Are there any I’ve missed? Share your thoughts.