When things go wrong, it’s so easy to blame someone or a particular circumstance. You were late? The traffic was bad. You stopped exercising? The gym was too far away. Your tomatoes didn’t grow. There was too much rain, or too little rain, or too many grubs, or the plants were unhealthy when you bought them.
Some suggest we live in a “blame culture”. Some make a habit of finding what (or who) is at fault instead of accepting bad luck, a lack of preparation or misunderstanding. Unfortunately, all this really does is take away our positive energy.
Say Goodbye to Negativity
Finding someone to blame may make you temporarily feel better for solving a problem, but in the end it doesn’t make anyone feel good at all. Blaming builds up negative feelings like resentment, cynicism and anger. When you talk negatively about others, the listener is more likely to associate the negativity to you rather than to the person you’re describing.
Most of the time, whatever happened, does not deserve all that blame energy. The only one that ends up feeling badly is you.
Consider these situations and how blame can be turned into something positive:
- Someone made a mistake that inconvenienced you, perhaps their dog ran over your flower garden or they had a party and kept you awake all night. Ask yourself, is this really going to affect my life forever? Once I calm down, could I just talk with them to sort things out?
- You’ve just had some bad luck – a tree fell on your front lawn, your basement flooded or you got the flu. You can blame society or the person you think infected you, or just acknowledge it as unfortunate and move on.
- You’ve made a mistake that you regret. Stop blaming yourself! Learn from what happened, apologize and focus on your positive attributes. Forgiving builds relationships.
- A co-worker or employee makes a mistake. Remember, when motivating people, it is much easier to keep others engaged by helping them learn and feel good about themselves instead of focusing on the negative.
Turn Toward the Energy and the Positive
Getting rid of blame means getting used to saying out loud, “Okay, it happened. Now, what can I focus on that is positive?” Next time you feel that a dark cloud is hanging over your shoulder, ask yourself:
- I’ve been given this wonderful day to live to the fullest. Is this incident really worth my energy and my time?
- What matters most to me in life, and what am I going to do about it today?
- Is finding blame becoming more important to me than finding ways to put things right?
- How can I make someone else feel good about themselves?
- How can I make myself feel good about myself.
When the chips are down, the above questions help you set blame aside and move forward with positive energy.
“The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.” — George Bernard Shaw