I like the quote from the great actor Katherine Hepburn. She said
“we are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers. But never blame yourself. It’s never your fault. But it is your fault because if you wanted to change, you’re the one who has got to change.“
Interesting quote, isn’t it from Katherine Hepburn?
How easy it is to blame others not to take responsibility for yourself and your own life? It seems to me that this blame game is everywhere. An accident happened somewhere and someone has to be blamed. But accidents happen all the time, Prince William is quoted as saying –
“I think it’s very important that you make your own decision about what you are. Therefore, you are responsible for your actions, so don’t blame other people. It’s easy to blame other people because once you do that, it feels that you’re no longer responsible for whatever has happened or whatever you’ve done. It’s easy because it feels good not being responsible.“
Psychology talks about the self serving bias, and researchers have discovered that many of us will take the credit if things that go good in life, but lay blame on circumstances when things go bad and that sounds about right to me. We live in a society that teaches us to blame other people for our problems.
The great thing about blame and blaming others, and the reason that you can choose to hang on to yours is that it takes the onus off us. I can’t do anything about other team members at work who are not pulling their weight. That means that you can accept that your career is in the hands of other people. So if you don’t get the pay rise or that promotion or that bonus, there’s no blame on you right now. Some people say I can’t do anything about where I was born. This means you can blame the world around you. You’ve got no control.
In other words, if you saw the 1994 movie as I have ‘Forrest Gump’, what a great movie that was, you would remember Lieutenant Dan. He came from a military background, good soldier, but tragically, he lost both legs and blamed others for his loss. After all, he felt he had to blame somebody. He hated himself. He lived in a world of hatred and bitterness. And we see that in life, too, don’t we?
One person experiences something horrific and goes on to make the world a better place while somebody else loses themselves in grief and bitterness and can’t move on. In other words, instead of blaming others learn to take responsibility. It’s what we teach our children, to move on, and we probably need to remind ourselves every day of this valuable lesson.
Accepting responsibility can be challenging because it doesn’t always feel good. It might need time. Feelings of shame or inadequacy can surface. And rather than face up to those feelings, it’s much easier to not accept responsibility.
When things don’t go the way they should. What do you do? Do you blame someone else, or do you own that problem? It’s about being honest with yourself, I think, and having the courage to own up to something you did or said. People blame as I’ve said, their past, their parents, their upbringing, those people out there. In fact, some people, to be honest, have become exemplars of living out the blame game. The problem there is that in your eyes your life is completely out of your control. It’s everyone else’s fault.
How different would it be if, like the truly great leaders in our world, you instead took ownership of the situation? Because when you take ownership all of a sudden, God has something to work with from the Bible. We know the story of King David, the greatest king that Israel ever had. He was a great leader. But it was David who came to the conclusion. And we read this from Psalm 51.
“Look on me with a heart of mercy. Oh God, Oh God. According to your generous love according to your great compassion, wipe out every consequence of my shameful crimes. Thoroughly wash me, he said. Inside and out of all my crooked deeds cleanse me from my sins because I’m fully aware of all that I’ve done wrong. My guilt is there staring me in the face. It was against you that I have sinned”
Now that’s why David was a great leader. And that’s why God got right behind him and made him such an outstanding leader. He accepted his wrongdoing. He took the blame and he didn’t blame others.
Heavenly Father, how easy and human it is to blame other people. But, dear Lord, you want me to face up to my own responsibilities, the good and the bad to take ownership and then to allow you to fix things up for me. Do that for me today I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.