When a branch falls from a tree, it does not blame the wind. When a gazelle loses offspring to a predator, it doesn’t blame the lion. They are not capable of blame, but if they were, what purpose would it serve?
Survival requires them to adapt; they must focus on the present. They don’t dwell on the past. They thrive because of their ability to move forward. Blame is strictly human behavior. It focuses our energy on the past, away from the present, and away from responsibility.
Blame is the opposite of responsibility. If you blame someone else, or circumstances for your life, you are not accepting responsibility. You are responsible when you accept that you influence every environment of which you are a part, and understand that your choices affect your outcomes. When you do this, you create a responsible and empowered life.
Responsibility means accepting that you influence everything. If you blame others, the natural conclusion is that there was nothing you could do then, and nothing you can do now, to change the situation; this belief denies responsibility.
Blame is easy. If someone is disrespectful to you and you respond with disrespect, you can blame your behavior on the other person. They made you do it. If it is someone else’s fault, there was nothing you could do; you don’t have to change. The truth is, you made a choice.
You didn’t have to be disrespectful. By blaming others, you are implying that they control your response. This is why blame is so insidious. It promotes the idea of powerlessness. You couldn’t control yourself. Your behavior was their fault!
We all have the power to choose how we respond; blame gives away that power. Responsibility is the awareness of your power. Being aware of it is the first step in learning to use power effectively.