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Why Blame Only Makes Your Problems Worse

We live in a culture of blame. People will blame anyone or anything for their misery sooner than take the responsibility to own it and make it better. Blame has become institutionalized in our courts, legislatures and schools; it pervades our psychology and medical thought and even our moral and spiritual lives. The result? More people with more misery, but always with someone or something else to blame it on. 

While blame may ease some of the anxiety, guilt, fear or sense of responsibility, it does nothing to solve the problem. As long as we think, feel or act as if there is nothing we can do about whatever we struggle with, we will remain stuck. 

You probably know or have known people who always have an excuse, never taking ownership for what they could do to make their situation better. If you know such a person, then you know the frustration of trying to help someone who will not take responsibility. As a psychologist, I have seen it a thousand times. Often, within the first five minutes of talking with someone, we can tell that solving his or her problem is going to be a long, uphill battle. Not because the particular problem itself is unsolvable or the condition untreatable, but because the most important factor required for overcoming it is missing: the ability to take responsibility for one’s own life. 

On the other hand, when someone does have that one ingredient – the ability to take responsibility – we have more than just a vague hope for him or her. We know that this person will get better. It borders on absolute certainty.

And that is what I believe about you as well. If you are willing to do what all the winners in the world do in your area of life that seems stuck, then your future can be different. Taking responsibility in this way does not at all imply that your situation is your fault or that you caused it. It only means that since you find yourself in it, you are willing to put your arms around it and take ownership to make it better. 

Whether it involves finding a clinical issue, such as depression, anxiety or addiction; a relational problem, such as marriage or dating; or a career that will not get moving – if you are willing to be the kind of person who takes responsibility for what you can do and change your focus from what you cannot control, you can improve the situation or solve the problem. You were created to do that, and knowing that one thing will empower you to bring it about. 

Responsibility is not a negative word, but the one piece that has been missing in your quest to realize your dreams and desires. 

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