Did you ever wonder why blame is everywhere? What happens that we are happier pointing our fingers at anyone we can rather than say “Yup, I did it!”
Two reasons: safety and sameness.
As kids we have few resources at our disposal to stay safe. We can run and hide, at least for a short time, or we can keep our mouths shut hoping that the broken table or the lost toy will be forgotten because of more important issues in the house.
Think about when you were “found out” and punished for a “crime” at home or at school. Were you given a Time out? Where you swatted on your rump? Were you given a beating with a belt, hairbrush, or hand? No matter how you spin it, getting punished is not a pretty sight.
Then there is this thing that goes on in families, its fancy name is homeostasis. It basically means keeping the lid on situations, keeping life as we always have known it, keeping it the same. There is a universal, natural desire to maintain homeostasis in a family, in a society.
Loyalty is all about keeping things the way they are. Rules are often set in place so we won’t color outside the box, we will do what is expected and know what to expect, often hoping it will stay like this from generation to generation. Not really going to happen even though every family, every culture sets out to keep the lid on change.
Now back to what happens when we “own up” to having taken the cookies from the cookie jar. First, we learn that telling the truth has consequences. Second, we can learn that with the truth telling comes growth and strength.
The training ground for all leaders is their original organization, the family. That is where we learn the results of telling the truth, of what happens when we stop blaming others and see the role we play in difficult situations.
If you are a true blame machine stop and give some thought to what you really want in life. If it is sameness, keep blaming. If what you want is to find new roads to travel, to research how accountability makes you feel (hint: in the long run, better!), then when the next knee jerk situation comes along to blame out there, take the time to say “Oh rats, Here is the role I played in this and I am going to be strong enough to own my part.”
I promise you, like any acquired taste it will get way better as time goes on and you will be acknowledged as a leader to emulate.
Families and school: where children are taught not to commit mistakes instead of learning from them.