When things don’t go our way we usually find someone or something to blame. We blame our parents, spouses, children, school, government, corporations, bosses, employees, leaders, weather patterns, inflation, traffic and a whole host of other things.
“Blaming comforts us, at least for a while, with the illusion that we are in control. However, it actually accomplishes the opposite, stripping us of our God given personal power and keeping us helplessly stuck in immaturity”. page 116 “I Quit!” by Geri Scazzero
6 signs that indicate you may be using blame to avoid personal responsibility:
(from “I Quit!” page 118 by Geri Scazzero)
1. You feel you have been dealt a “bad” hand in life.
2. You don’t think you can change anything in your life for the better.
3. You view negative occurrences and relationships in your life as being out of your control.
4. You rarely believe you are wrong.
5. You think apologizing is a sign of weakness.
6. You dwell on the past instead of looking to the future.
If you find yourself blaming others and feeling like a victim, it is time to ask an important question: “What am I going to do about it?” Asking yourself this question shifts the focus from blaming others to taking personal responsibility for your life.
9 tools to quit blaming others
(from “I Quit!” pages 122-140 by Geri Scazzero)
1. Practice boundaries.
God created human beings with boundaries. God gives us boundaries so we know where we end and others begin. These boundaries include our own thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams, fears, values and beliefs.
These things set us apart, reminding us of our separateness as individuals. When we let someone pressure us into doing something that we don’t agree with or don’t want to do, we allow our boundaries to be crossed.
2. Speak up.
Declaring oneself is challenging. We need to learn to speak on our own behalf, to be able to tell others what we think and feel. When we declare ourselves we are not trying to control or manipulate others. We are speaking with an attitude of deep respect both for ourselves and others.
3. Say yes or no.
Many of us feel guilty saying no. We want to be liked and not disappoint people. Exercising a healthy no is essential to our growth. Saying no, when appropriate, is the right of every adult.
We must be able to say no if we are to say a healthy yes. A healthy yes comes from a sincere heart that both desires and is able to do something. It is infused with delight, without strings attached and absent of any resentment.
4. Pay attention to your feelings.
We need to take regular time to pay attention to the feelings going on inside of us. They are important indicators and ways that God comes to us. The events, people and things that excite emotion in us are part of what makes us a unique human being.
5. Take care of yourself.
We need to be doing things that refresh us and give us life. This means being in touch with our wishes and dreams, the things that cause us to feel fully alive. Are you only spending time doing things others want yo do do? Or do you regularly include activities that you love to do?
6. Confront yourself.
We need to protect ourselves from self-deception. Confronting ourselves means humbly acknowledging our shortcomings and the ways in which we are responsible for own failures and disappointments.
Self-confrontation may sound like a scary tool (and it does raise fears), but it is also a powerful tool that gives us the ability to face our own monsters head-on. It enables us to stop blaming and take back our lives.
7. Remain hopeful.
Living without hope is like trying to drive a car forward while looking only in the rear-view mirror. Focusing too much on the past prevents us from looking forward to the future.
Hope frees us to take responsibility for a better future. It keeps us from getting stuck in regrets, resentments and blaming others. No matter how difficult the past may be, it doesn’t mean a better future is impossible!
8. Think carefully.
We need to take the time to pause, gather information and then to evaluate what we know about an issue. It requires us to think critically before making decisions, recognizing that giving thought to our ways is both a privilege and a gift from God.
9. Be courageous.
Being courageous enables us to take healthy risks. Taking hold of personal freedom requires courage and faith. There are no guarantees that things will not get harder before they get better. You can expect resistance when you begin to challenge unhealthy patterns. Choosing an authentic life does not mean choosing an easy life; these decisions are difficult and involve pain.
The question is whether the pain you choose will be redemptive or destructive. Redemptive pain demands that we die to the right things so we can move closer to our destiny. Destructive pain never leads to anything but more pain; it simply recycles the same problems over and over.
When we quit blaming and utilize our God-given personal freedom, our sense of helplessness evaporates. We realize we are not responsible for other people’s choices; they are. We can’t change others, but we can change ourselves – with God’s grace. pg. 140“I Quit!” by Geri Scazzero
Which tool (s) do you need to implement in your life right now?
This is a continuation of my book club discussions of Geri Scazzero’s book “I Quit!”. This week I read Chapter Five: Quit blaming. If you have a response, please add it below and add to the discussion. Whether you’ve read the chapter or not, please share your thoughts!