Blame game

Sunday, August 30th, 2015 6:48:37 by

I never went to medical college because I got married. I never became a singer because I was too busy raising my family. I can’t lose weight because I have no time. Does any of this sound familiar? Ever noticed how we always have an excuse for something we didn’t do or achieve and that reason is always someone or something else?

As the host of a morning show, I often ask people what their unfulfilled desire is, especially at the end of an interview. The replies I get are diverse and different. But what is very common is the answer that some particular desire never got fulfilled because someone or something else kept getting in the way.

It is a great thing to want to do better and to live better. Working towards that goal is essential. At the same time, expecting the world at large or even specific people to provide you with what you want is just silly. It’s like men blaming women for the fact that their marriage is ‘boring’ yet without making an effort to make things more interesting or fun. It’s easy to sit on a high horse and moan. It is much harder to take responsibility and to fix things. And it is even harder, when and if things are not fixable, to then accept that it is your own fault.

Blaming others and making excuses are what lay down the foundation of an unsuccessful life. There will always be events in your life that are uncontrollable and there will be times when things will go awry. But what you can do even then is determine how you respond to such events. A disaster or a tragedy can make you grow, draw you closer to the people you love and make you stronger, or it can make you bitter and lead to you pushing people away. It’s your choice.

The most important thing here is to acknowledge that your life and the choices you make are your own responsibility. No one lives your life or makes choices for you. The direction your life takes is a direct consequence of what you chose.

With the blame game comes one more thing — a cauldron of unfulfilled desires. The more you blame others, the more desires pop up. They consume you and then affect everything you do.

Now there are reasonable desires and unreasonable desires. Wanting a roof over your head, food on your table and clothes on your back are basic needs and everyone strives to fulfill those. Some people, with sheer dumb luck, have everything they need plus everything they want. Others work hard and with a little bit of luck are able to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. Then there is the huge population of our country that doesn’t have even their most basic needs fulfilled.

It is human nature to always desire more than you have and I see this a lot with the socialites of Lahore. Someone gets one of those hideous Birkin bags and everyone wants to get the same one in the same colour from the same place. Obviously, the cost of purchasing that bag falls on the husbands of these women. I even overheard some women gossiping about how someone was so miserable because her husband had told her to get a job or earn her own money to buy such unnecessary extravagances.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or scream. I can understand the desire to want certain things. I want a Porsche and a house in the Hamptons but I can’t expect my husband to buy these for me. It would be an ideal situation were it to happen. But in the real world, where real money and real problems exist, one just has to be realistic. Blaming your husband for not catering to all your whims is just juvenile.

What we need to do is to follow this simple three-step process. Whenever you think, listen to that voice in your head. Delete all the blame and replace that with proactive solutions to the problem you face. Then whenever you speak listen to yourself. Are you blaming your spouse or your boss for your unhappiness? Only when we hear our blaming patterns, will we eliminate them. Finally, stop being defensive. When and if someone tries to give feedback, you need to understand what they are saying rather than spend your energy defending your stance.

Life is just too short to be miserable. There is enough out there that we cannot control but we need to accept responsibility for what we can control. Stop blaming others for your shortcomings and for your lack of success. Instead, spend that energy on being in a better place in your mind. And that will, in turn, lead to a better life.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st,  2015.

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