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Column: Stop playing the blame game

By: Karen Hourtovenko – Health Matters

 | Jun 26, 2014 - 12:11 PM |
We live in a world where many complain and look to blame others for their misfortunes in life.

Sadly, feeling justified in seeing others as the problem and playing a victim is all too often the environment we live and work in. You see, it's easy to look at others and say, “You are the problem!”

The problems and complaints will only continue in other situations and with others. We see this in organizations and relationships. One would think, as humans, we would know how to get along.

Sadly, at times, we don't. How we respond to each other appears to be almost animalistic. You see, when we care only about ourselves, we see others as objects and not people.

When we can sit back and see those around us as people, we treat them with respect and see the situation from their perspective, as well as from our own.

When we see others as objects, the fight or flight response takes over, protecting ourselves at all costs. In these situations, we justify our stance to be right and then make sure the other person is wrong.

Conflicts happen only when someone is blaming another person, which forces the other person feels to justify their actions or position — the outcome causes more blame. Whether at home or in the workplace, it is clear that changes will never happen until we take ownership of our own behaviour.

When we do, then and only then will our life outcomes change.

Now, I am not saying you condone someone else’s controlling tactics or abusive behaviour. How you react gives you the ability to change. To change others you must first change yourself.

Think about an interaction with your child that didn’t go well. How did you react? Did you feel the child didn’t respect you? Ok, well maybe the child did not. But let me ask you another question, did you respect the child? What you give you get back.

In the workplace, it can be the same. Does your boss respect you? I guarantee if you feel like you are not respected at work then you do not respect your boss. If you don’t feel respected, then you probably will not do a good job.

The boss then may feel justified in treating you with less respect and the cycle continues. Maybe you are the boss and on the receiving end of lack of respect. Well, after all, you pay your employees for their job and they should be grateful, right? Wrong.

Who wants to work for someone with that attitude? They will work for you, but you will not get their full potential because of your attitude.

Are you getting the picture?

We all have 100-per-cent responsibility for the relationships we are in. It takes great courage to stop and look at the situation from a “what can I do in this case” and not “he or she needs to make the change.”

Conflicts are preventable when the blame game stops.

Karen Hourtovenko, RN(EC), is a Sudbury-based health and wellness consultant.

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