Why do we always look to blame others for our misfortune? And why do we spend much of our time justifying or defending our choices? Our culture has become all about finding fault in others and avoiding personal responsibility and ownership. This is particularly true with our politicians, celebrities, entrepreneurs and others in positions of power and status. People expend time, money, and energy coming up with plausible excuses, fabricated reasons, and justifiable rationalizations to avoid acknowledging wrongdoing even when the consequences are reasonable. Control and pride often contribute to this perpetual pattern of behavior. Underneath these factors lie powerful feelings of fear and insecurities that drive the need for blame. Of course, blame keeps people stuck and prevents change. Couples also often find themselves stuck in this same vicious and destructive cycle in their relationship. It is often easier to point out another's inadequacies than to acknowledge our own flaws. Often in divorcing couples, each party assumes that they haven't found the right person instead of taking a look at themselves in the mirror and realizing that they are part of the problem.
Unfortunately, it is often easier for couples to blame rather than change. Focusing energy on finding fault distracts from their own issues. Those with a narcissistic tendency go to great lengths to find problems with everyone else, but have very little insight into their own issues. As they gain more control, power, and status their insights often narrow and their ability to look inside themselves disappears. Poor choices lead to damage control since spinning it to blame others is the best defense. People need to realize that blaming others doesn't work and only keeps them focused off changing themselves.
Ultimately, when we acknowledge that we are part of the problem, we can also be part of the solution. Taking ownership and responsibility for our mistakes and wrongs begins the process of change. Denial and blame never elicit change, but acknowledgment can bring about growth in character and humility, traits that leaders today need to cultivate. But talk is cheap, so the words need to be followed by action. After we acknowledge a mistake, we need to outline a game plan to implement and make a behavioral change. We will build trust in the people around us when we take responsibility for our faults and work towards new choices. Sometimes it helps to have an accountability person that you can rely on to keep you on the right path. Select a person you trust, respect, and someone who will be completely honest and direct. Don't allow pride or stubbornness to get in the way of being a healthier person; instead recognize that blame prevents introspection and growth. Use your time and energy for change, not blame.