Most if not all of us have the tendency to allow words, actions and attitudes of others to influence our responses. At some point in life, we’ve likely blamed someone else for our response to a situation or a person. To be honest, I think most of us still do. We likely do this because it is our default response. It has been part of the human experience from the beginning.
Scripture recounts the first instance of people being held accountable for their choices, and their immediate response was to blame someone else for their choices. This story of Adam and Eve disobeying God in the garden is found in Genesis 3. The tendency to blame others for our choices is still very much a part of the human condition.
We seem to have an excuse-making “gene,” and it takes little or no effort to get into the blame game. We blame others for making us angry, sad, or late; others are somehow to blame when we mistreat others or make poor choices. We even attribute our happiness (or lack thereof) to others! We blame others for lack of sleep, poor nutrition, our failure to exercise, stunted spiritual development, or poor relationships. It’s as if we have no control over our choices when the results are poor.
But stop and think about it. Perhaps you need to recognize that you have more power than you think when it comes to deciding how to respond to any given person or situation. When you say that someone made you do something you did not want to do, in effect you are saying that you surrendered to that other person your power to choose your own response. How many of us really want to turn over our power of choice to another person? And yet, when we blame others for our poor choices, we are doing exactly that.
While in Nazi death camps from 1942–1945, Viktor Frankl became aware that the one freedom the Nazi could not take from him, was his power to choose.
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. (Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning)
The power to choose is the fundamental freedom no one can take from you. However, you can choose to give that power over your life to someone else by blaming them for your poor choices or for where you presently find yourself in life.
What would happen if you decided to take responsibility for all your choices without trying to cast blame elsewhere?
I want to challenge you to be intentional with the choices you make; take full responsibility for your choices, regardless of the results. Own you choices.
Start by reminding yourself of the following:
- I can choose what affects me.
- I can choose to not be damaged.
- I can choose to not be afraid – or at least to overcome my fears.
- I can choose to not let this break-up depress me.
- I can choose to look at mistakes as learning experiences.
- I can choose to be confident.
- I can choose to be happy.
- I can choose to feel loved.
- I can choose.
If you would like help in achieving your goals as a leader or in any area of your life, call us at 208-880-0307 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a complimentary coaching session. To read Errol’s other posts, visit Christ-Centered Life Coaching.