Nothing will ever change until you do

By: CAROLE MANDI

People spend too much time finding other people to blame, too much energy finding excuses for not being what they are capable of being, and not enough energy putting themselves on the line, growing out of the past, and getting on with their lives. J. Michael Straczynski

It’s always somebody else’s fault. Of course it is. The unhappiness, debt and the general lack of progress I am currently experiencing is someone else’s fault. You see my parents set me up to fail. And then there are the no-good friends who hang around me. How can one expect to prosper with such a crowd? As for the woman I married, hmmn, she is singlehandedly bringing me to ruin.

Ever heard about the boss from hell? Well, I’m working for him and he’s determined to make sure I don’t get promoted. The there’s the government and all its corrupt leaders that are bleeding this country and me with it, dry. As for my children, they are gifted, bright and well-mannered. It’s the other children from the neighbourhood who are corrupting them. Introducing them to drugs, partying and insolent behaviour. Junior would never have been suspended from school if it wasn’t for that dastardly Jimmy. As for their teachers?

Why, they don’t even know how to teach! How can you explain how Junior is getting such bad grades? It is someone else’s fault. It has to be. Why? Because I can’t bear to think that the problem could be with me. Nah.

Is this an all too familiar soundtrack to your life? To mine? Truth be told, blaming other people for the way our life is turning out is something we are all guilty of from time to time. However, it is not a productive exercise because we have little to no control over how other people act.

CHANGING THE NARRATIVE

And so we get stuck in a self-pitying cycle of victimhood that can last our whole life. Until we stand before our maker and finally run out of excuses when He asks what we did with our life. Then, we will then have to give account. I have a hard time believing that God will be impressed by our rendition of Shaggy’s popular, “It wasn’t me!” refrain.

However, at some point we have to grow up, look in the mirror, take responsibility and realise, “It’s not them, it’s me.” Sure you may have been dealt a crazy deck of cards but it’s up to you to change the narrative; to take charge of how you play so that you get your best possible result in the circumstances.

Your parents may not have given you the education you wanted but thousands of people enrolled in evening classes are changing that particular narrative everyday. Everyday people get out of debt, change jobs, improve their parenting skills and find happiness. People like you and me change their lives for the better everyday. In the same vein, people like you and me stay in their self-made ruts everyday.

Taking personal responsibility is not to say that people won’t do us wrong, that other people do not deserve any blame for the bad they have done to us. It is to say that we get to choose our response to their terrible actions. Unless we are under 18, we are not entirely powerless. Will we allow their wrong doing to keep us down, or will we rise, slowly and surely above it?

However, it is probably just as bad to admit our wrongdoing and then stick in a cycle of woefully blaming ourselves. Everything is our fault, from our looks to our lack of intelligence to our poor social skills. “There’s something wrong with me. That’s why no-one loves me,” a young woman may believe, and that misguided self-blame becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

When we take a healthier, more balanced approach, we can admit that we occasionally mess up and hopefully find ways to learn from our mistakes.

If you don’t like the way your life is, change it. But for that to happen you have to get rid of other people blame. Nothing changes until we do.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION