Our society today has made blaming others a common theme. Just take a look at the news – people blame anyone they can for things not being right in their lives. They often blame the politicians, because ‘they are the ones that should fix everything.’ Even sports games are not left out of the blame game. The loser is often seen blaming the winning team for cheating or blaming the referee for showing favoritism.
However, something that is becoming more common does not necessarily mean it is acceptable. In some cases, yes, there may be someone who is responsible and genuinely to blame for things that have happened to us, but quite often, there is no one to blame but ourselves. Often, in retrospect, we can see that there was a point where we could have made a better choice. We need to learn to take responsibility for the choices we make in our lives, and ‘own’ them.
Blaming someone, or making others feel responsible for the challenges or misfortunes that befall us, is not an appropriate way to deal with adversity. Many of us do it, often without realizing it.
Blaming others not only destroys our relationships with others but can also harm us emotionally.
There are many reasons why people tend to point their finger at others. Many can relate to blaming the traffic if late to an appointment because it is easier to say than admitting that you woke up late that morning. We tend to blame other people or circumstances because it is easier, or more comfortable than revealing our errors.
When we blame others, we are freeing ourselves from taking responsibility for what happened. It protects our ego and our own emotions. Blaming someone else can make you feel superior, and hopefully, also look better in the eyes of the person you are trying to convince.
Admitting our faults requires a degree of self-reflection, and some people are not even aware of how to self-reflect or how to take a closer look at their own emotions. If they do, it can make them feel more vulnerable. Therefore, people tend to blame others as a defense mechanism to protect their own feelings and emotions, and it helps them to feel more in control.
People also develop self-sabotaging behaviors unconsciously and then may go on to blame someone else for their bad behaviors. For example, a student knows they have to study before their big exam, but can’t resist going out to a party with their friends. When they get a low score, it’s not because they didn’t study that they got a low score, it’s because their friends made them go to a party. So they blame their friends rather than their lack of responsibility and aptitude.
People engage in these behaviors because it allows them to find an external source to blame for their future mistakes, making self-sabotage another strategy to help preserve their emotions and ego.
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How Blaming Others Can Harm You
Blaming others can have a negative impact on the relationships with the people around you and with yourself. You can lose out on having healthy relationships with others if you tend to always blame your family, friends, and colleagues for the things that happen to you.
Relationships cannot thrive without healthy communication, and a little give and take. The people around you won’t want to be with you if you constantly make them feel devalued. Nobody wants to take the brunt of the blame when it’s not their fault.
When it comes to our own personal growth, blaming others hinders us from learning from our mistakes. We need to focus on improving ourselves, rather than on how we can get away from a problem without feeling hurt emotionally.
We also miss out on important life lessons that we get to learn from owning up to our mistakes, another critical factor if we want to grow emotionally.
Blaming others also diminishes our capacity to feel empathy toward others. This is because if we blame someone, we see them as being weaker and less powerful than us, and that can make us feel superior.
When it comes to self-sabotage, we lose out on our chance to succeed, all because we are too afraid to fail. Self-sabotaging behaviors limit us from reaching our full potential.
Blaming others may appear to be the easy way out of a difficult situation at the time, but it does not help solve any problems. You may find yourself in even bigger problems if you continue to blame others for your mistakes or misdeeds.
Whenever we are in a challenging situation, we must become more mindful of our behavior to avoid pointing the blame at others. Keep in mind that for every finger you point at another person, three fingers are pointing right back at you!