Want to Win the Blame Game? Stop Playing


It’s tempting to play the blame game, to point a finger at other people and fault them for your problems. If others have caused you harm, whether family members, friends or colleagues, there is legitimate reason to feel upset. It’s certainly helpful to validate those feelings of frustration or disappointment, but blaming others for your problems ultimately backfires because it means giving them control over your life.

That’s why you can never win the blame game. An essential goal of adulthood is learning to take ownership of your own life. Yes, other people may have hurt you or taught you harmful habits, but when you take ownership of your life you give yourself the power to make it better. There is no use in blaming others because you simply can't force them to change. Living your best life means believing that your wellbeing depends not on changing others, but changing yourself.

However, that recognition can sometimes lead to another round of the blame game, only this time pointed inward. After all, if you have always held the keys to your own happiness, if you have been able to improve your life simply by changing yourself, then aren’t you to blame for your problems? The simple answer is “no.” Don't fault yourself for not taking ownership of your life choices in the past. For whatever reason, without getting into the blame game, perhaps you weren’t ready or able to begin this important process. Those who tend toward self-criticism may find this difficult to accept, but just as there’s no use in blaming others for your past, there’s no use in blaming yourself either.

In other words, the only way to win the blame game is by choosing not to play.

#change #empowerment

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DAVID BERGER

Ph.D., Clinical Psychology

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