Building Paris

Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day…Neither Was Paris!

Posts Tagged ‘responsibility’

Why we blame others

Posted by Jeremy Paris on April 8, 2009

My son was on “yellow” today at school.  For those of you who don’t know, there is a daily discipline chart for 1st graders that uses the colors of a street-light to tell the parents if they were good (green), bad (red), or somewhere in between (yellow).   Back in my day they had a similar chart, but it was black and blue…and it was on your backside.  If you were bad your chart would be black and blue…but I digress.

I asked him why he was on yellow and immediately he started with “…well Johnny was the one who…”.  You get the idea.  I then asked him why every time I question him why he’s not on green his answer is always due to someone else.  Reply “…but it really was Johnny”.  This made me start thinking about whether blaming someone or something else is a learned trait, or are we born with this skill genetically imprinted in our brains the way that dogs know to eat grass when they aren’t feeling well.  And at what point do we realize we are doing it and stop it.

After thinking about this for a few minutes it dawned on me that I used this skill as recently as that same freaking hour!  Unbelievable!  My beautiful wife was getting on my case for the shotty paint job I did cutting-in on the walls at our new house.  Immediately I blamed it on the fact that I didn’t have the metal edge tool that I wanted to buy from Home Depot.  Then I deflected the blame over to the fact that I had taped it and the tape didn’t work.  Luckily my survival skills kicked in before I was able to shift the blame on her.

So why is it so blatantly obvious that my 7 year old is doing it, but oblivious to me that I am?  Anthony Robbins says it’s because everything we do in life is motivated by either avoiding pain or seeking pleasure.  Makes sense to me.

How do we stop it?  Bring it into the light.  Focus on it.  The next time you are backed into a corner try to recognize it and take responsibility.  In the above example I could have said “I’m sorry baby…I will try to put more effort into painting the next room”.

Now it’s your turn.  Think about how many fights will be stopped in their tracks if you start a new habit of accepting the blame.  For the next 14 days make it a personal challenge to seek out opportunities to accept the blame.  I’m positive that you will find some…well maybe not you Jesus…but the rest of us will.

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