According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday, 30th August, 2014, blame has now surpassed instinctive responses such as blinking and flinching as the fastest human reflex.
“Our research shows that assigning fault to another person for a negative or unintended outcome is now the human body’s quickest involuntary action,” said lead author Dr. John Wittsack, adding that changes to the brain’s neural pathways over time have allowed for a nearly instantaneous transition between perceiving a problem and condemning someone else for causing it.
In the time it takes for a single sneeze or for the pupil to contract once, an average human can blame dozens, if not hundreds of individuals. In fact, the blame reflex may soon be too rapid to be measured even by our most sensitive instruments.” By contrast, Wittsack added that accepting responsibility had degenerated into a purely vestigial reflex and would eventually exit the human race altogether.
Blaming others is a sign of low self-esteem because in doing so we are not taking responsibility. If you do not take responsibility you will always be a victim of your circumstances.
How many times have you heard someone who said something that is mean, vindictive and hurtful — or committed a violent and/or destructive act — justify it by saying the recipient had ‘made’ the perpetrator mad?
That’s an example of using blame to excuse your own bad behavior.
Unfortunately, blame is like anger in that it dulls one sense of empathy. It allows a person to act in a hurtful way to another human being. It isn’t the act itself, but it often clears the road. This is a small, but important point.
Ordinary humans have inhibitions that serve as a buffer against what we know is bad behavior. Blame is not the act itself, but it either erodes or outright removes these inhibitions, often both . It develops a thought pattern that allows the person’s emotions to override his/her self-control in order to achieve an often selfish end — including sustaining dysfunctional patterns.
While this may seem like an overly harsh statement, also realize the kind of mindset that so quickly adopts blame as a defensive posture for emotional/ego protection is exactly the same one that will put you in front of, otherwise avoidable, physical danger.
You know you are not accepting personal responsibility if you do the opposite: blame others for your problems, life situation, hardships, character flaws, and just about everything and anything else. Rather than accepting the “blame” or responsibility for how your life is, you make excuses. Everything and anybody is to blame — except yourself.
Sound familiar? You may be blaming others more than you think. Have you ever:
- Blamed traffic/truck drivers/slow drivers for being late to an appointment?
- Blamed your hectic schedule for the reason you’ve put on a couple of pounds?
- Blamed your spouse for your bad day?
People who take responsibility, on the other hand, would have handled these situations as follows:
- Admitted that they should have left a few minutes earlier for their appointment.
- Acknowledged that, while being stressed because of a busy time, they’ve been skipping the gym and eating junk food more often.
- Accepted that no one is to blame for their bad day, other than themselves.
When you constantly blame others, view yourself as a victim and feel others are causing all of your hardships, you inevitably surround yourself with anger, resentment and negative thoughts — all of which are surefire ways to bring on fatigue, sadness, stress and even chronic disease.
The key to living a long and happy life is knowing how to accept personal responsibility and not blame others — even when it may be their fault.
This does not mean you have to go through life letting others walk all over you. On the contrary, accepting personal responsibility means you have to take the high road and be the bigger person, even when it’s hard.
- Apologize when you’re wrong (this means first accepting that you’re not always right).
- Admit when you’ve made a mistake.
- Learn to forgive.
- Be open to the ideas and opinions of others.
- Identify the things in your life that you are not happy about, and do something to change them.
- Practice saying, “I am responsible.” Eventually, you will start to believe it.
- Take smart risks, and realize that you are responsible for the outcomes.
- Adopt a positive outlook on life (assume that things will go your way).
- Recognize and embrace your own shortcomings, and ask others for help when you need it.