It’s Always Someone Else’s Fault

There is no secret that generally it’s very hard for us to recognize we made a mistake and that we often feel it’s someone else’s fault. It’s a feeling of artificial protection which helps us “externalize” personal non-achievements towards colleagues, managers, government, global warming or the dinosaurs.

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I have enjoyed once a scene at the cinema, where people put the blame on each other. After the movie started, there were a few belated, very belated citizens who wanted to claim their seats, ’cause, naturally, they belonged to them.

It no longer mattered that they bothered everyone else by talking loud and using the phone flashlight to spot their seats.

It also didn’t matter that there were a lot of empty seats which they could’ve occupied without bothering anyone.

It also made no difference to them that those occupying “their” seats were sitting in the right places — so it all became more vocal and intense.

Now, the blame was taken from the “deceived” to the person at the cash register and it got louder so no one was even watching the movie anymore.

The ending was dreamlike: the belated were in the right seats, right row, right movie, right hall, but… turned out they arrived too early and it was the wrong show.

Well, after catching up with this, they left, tails between their legs.

This syndrome, when people place the blame, originates in a failure with multiple external causes, thus excluding any individual responsibility.

If you are constantly late for work, there is always someone else to blame for it: traffic, the phone was not loud enough, an accident, paternal grandma dying for the third time during the last 6 months, the parking spot, the officer pulling you over for crossing at a red light and many, many others.

What can you do in order not to blame others for your mistakes:

  • Look in the mirror and see what how can you change so you don’t end up in those situations. It’s very unlikely that traffic to work will change, but it’s a lot easier to leave home early;
  • Acknowledge that you may hold part of the blame;
  • Boost your confidence and don’t get defensive so often;
  • After the issue passed, analyze it and see if you could’ve done anything differently. You, not others;
  • Stop looking for the “bad guys”, ’cause they are very easy to find, but you would still be deceiving yourself;
  • Stop searching for explanations as soon as things get tough;
  • If you are blaming yourself for what others do, it’s pretty much the same, but the other way round 🙂

Obviously, there are things you cannot control, but in those cases, it’s very important how you react. For example: if you are on the crosswalk and some idiot speeds towards you, it’s definitely not your fault they’re driving recklessly. But… you’d better get out of their way, so you won’t get killed while being right.

Good luck getting responsible!


Originally published at bogdan.blog on January 1, 2018.