We learn as children that becoming an adult entails maturity, responsibility, and problem solving. We assume that when we finally reach adulthood, we will naturally encompass all of these traits. Yet, the ability to remain accountable in life proves elusive to many adults, though we may not be aware of this fact.
Generally, there are two types of people in this world: those that blame others for how they feel and the predicament they are in, and those that take accountability for their situation and focus on problem solving. Of course we know which group we think we are in, but what group are we really in? Here are five signs that you blame other people for your problems.
1. You complain about the same problem.
Life is full of challenges, but when they are met with a healthy mindset and action, the nature of these problems improves until they are solved. When we complain over and over again, we get stuck in the details of our story. We skew our perspective with exaggerated details of how we are innocent and why someone or something else is to blame. We lose sight of the big picture as we start to believe we have no power or control.
The truth is, we do have power and we can exercise it with free will and choice. We always have a choice, even if it’s choosing another thought, we can get the ball rolling in a positive direction.
2. Resentment is your default mode.
This emotion signals lingering issues that are not being addressed. Resentment is a strong bitterness we feel when someone does something wrong to us or we feel we have been treated unfairly. It is a natural emotion, especially to an injustice. However, when we consistently feel this, it’s a sign we are in “victim” mode. Every emotion, including resentment, provides a message. It’s up to us to change either our perception of the problem or our actions toward it. If resentment is our go-to emotion, then we have cast the focus onto others and their actions instead of spotlighting ourselves and our ability to change the situation.
3. You say “you made me feel this way.”
No one can make us feel upset or angry. The only person that can make us feel a certain way is, well, us.
We choose to feel a particular way based on how we’re interpreting the situation and the meaning we associate to it. If we don’t want to get upset or angry, we must become accountable for our own feelings and learn how to choose our reactions instead of allowing them to choose us.
It’s natural to be affected by other people. It’s also healthy to consider their feedback and opinions — as long as it doesn’t dictate our own thoughts and feelings. We always have a choice. When we realize this, we understand that other people can’t make us feel any way, even if they try their hardest. We decide what to feel and what not to feel.
4. You are in a codependent relationship.
A codependent relationship is a type of dysfunctional relationship where one person enables another person’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement. A person will refuse to look at their own problems because they are too wrapped up in what the other is doing. These are very destructive relationships that keep both people stuck in a rut.
Typically, when one person begins to focus on healing their own issues, it causes the other person to feel threatened and they consequently will not support the growth. However, we can change the dynamic of any relationship we are in if we know it is in a negative place. Though the other person may lash out against our efforts, we can remain clear on what are our issues versus theirs. This may inspire them to make similar changes for themselves.
5. You notice recurring themes in your life.
When we get into the same type of relationships, work at the same type of jobs, and repeat the same mistakes over again, it’s a sign that we are not taking ownership of our issues. Within these patterns, the faces may be different, the details not quite the same, but there is always a common denominator — us.
Recurring themes in our lives serve as a message that we are missing something, or that we are choosing to ignore it. Whatever the case may be, we can use these patterns as information that can help us break out of limiting beliefs and underlying motivations that keep us stuck.
“When We Know Better, We Do Better.” — Maya Angelou
We all have problems in life — that’s what makes us human. We can’t fully appreciate the good times without experiencing the bad. We can successfully navigate these problems when we remember they are not caused by other people. Ultimately, we are the only ones who can be held accountable. Only when we realize this do we have the power to change the situation. When we view our problems as a call to action, we feel empowered to take the necessary steps towards finding a solution. If we discover we are in fact blaming others, we can choose to turn it around at any point. It’s that simple!
Featured photo credit: Benny Seidelman via flickr.com