It Is All My Fault!
Posted on December 10, 2010
“Take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame.”
- Erica Jong
I really really really wanted this article to be posted on the 9th of December, as to create the impression that I am a dedicated blogger, and post something every day. Unfortunately it is now 23:24, so by the time this is published I can pretty much be sure in saying that it will be the 10th of December 2010. I will have missed my target – bugger.
I suppose that is the way of life, or at least it can be. We can set out with a plan as clear as day in our minds – as I did a few hours ago, to write and publish this article before the stroke of Midnight – but due to anyone of a whole number of reasons, we very often fall short of what we intended to do. This can make us feel cheated, cheated of what we wanted to be, or what we wanted to achieve. As a result of this we might end up feeling a little upset with ourselves, or angry at the circumstance which prohibited us to achieve that which we set out to. Whether these circumstances were within our control or not, the disappointment of ‘failing’ often disrupts and distorts our view of what actually happened. I can’t talk for the whole of Humanity (well, not in theory anyway), but I can talk as an individual and observer of other Human Beings.
I often blame myself for the things which go wrong in my life. Sometimes I am wholly accountable – like when I put walking my Bedlington Terrier (Maisie) ahead of work duties. When I do this, I will conjure up a story in my mind, usually something along the lines of “Well I really must take Maisie out for a walk, she needs the exercise and she’ll need to toilet. That work can wait, it isn’t reliant upon me!”. I know unequivocally that the aforementioned thought process is nothing but detrimental to my life, and yet I still continue to have such mental processes. Is it just procrastination? Or is it me failing to maintain control over my life, through neglecting to apply myself to that which I am perfectly capable? The truth is that in cases like Maisie Vs. Work it is obviously just procrastination, but what about the things which really matter in life? Not the trivialities like work and home chores, but sustaining friendships, looking after family, being there for people who need you most. When one is under such extreme pressure to perform in order to either support and sustain a personal relationship, or to provide a shoulder upon which a friend can cry on even in the face of intolerable adversity is something else. Whether it be looking after a friend who feels that they have no purpose, or to be there for a neighbour recently bereaved. It could be sitting up way into the night on a regular basis with a friend who is deeply unhappy, or, in the worst of cases, it could be preventing a person from trying to take their own life. These are examples of times when a person may set out to achieve something but in a situation the control of which is not theirs.
It might sound melodramatic, but if you were to ask yourself the following question, I truly believe the answer would be a definite no. Do you really know what is going on in other people’s lives?
The problem arises when a person puts themselves into a situation beyond their control, but proceeds to accept full responsibility for any outcome of that situation. It is just a fact in life that we often have no control over what could happen when our eyes are closed, or our back is turned. That could be the Prison Officer who’s in charge of a facility where an inmate commits suicide, or the Doctor whose patient’s heart fails due to a drug problem that they refused to disclose. In both cases the two people who are left to feel responsible for an action out with control will end up blaming themselves, but why? It wasn’t the Officer’s fault that Inmate X hanged himself, and it certainly wasn’t the Doctor’s fault that Patient Y died because he neglected to disclose a drug addiction…
And yet, as a species we are so quick to blame others at the same time. How paradoxical this strikes me, but in a situation where a person maybe is not emotionally involved and something happens that perhaps is their fault, that person is usually likely to ‘point the finger’ at the earliest available opportunity. Whether this be as a result of fear, fear of persecution… Or maybe for not wanting to spoil a previously spotless record. The fact remains that we Humans hold ourselves responsible in situations where we are not, yet when we are in situations where we are at fault, we are quick to pass the blame onto someone else.
Surely it would be more healthy for people to understand and accept the differentiation between that which we are responsible for due to our own actions, and that which is beyond our control and thus is not apart of our responsibility. This would alleviate the stress and unhappiness which is associated with feeling at blame for a bad event which occurred in our lives, but which was in control of another person or even out with the control of people altogether. Furthermore, the people who are quick to blame others in situations where the fault lies squarely with themselves would be able to accept responsibility and hopefully then pay more attention to the circumstances they control, as to make for better outcomes and thus less reason to try and shift blame onto another Human Being.
We need to shift the balances of blame, in order to create a World of happier people.
After all, I am sitting here now at 01:20, this article still hasn’t been published, and why? Because I decided to watch the television for a while instead. Whose fault is that? Well, there is only one person to blame, and that’s…