The Culture of Blame

In today’s society, we are quick to find someone or something to blame for our misfortunes, failures and shortcomings.

When we mismanage our money, bite off more than we can chew and live far beyond our means, we blame the banks for giving us so much. Then we blame the government for not monitoring the banks better – to make sure they don’t give us so much.

On a myriad of other issues, we blame our politicians for not doing enough, our entertainers for being a bad influence, our teachers or the school system for poor performance.

When all else fails, we blame our parents. If only our parents had done a better job parenting. If only they had encouraged us more, believed in us more… we would be better than we are.

What would the world look like if we all stood up and took complete responsibility for everything we didn’t like about our lives and about ourselves? Would we be better off?

I know there are times when we need to hold people – or groups of people – accountable for their actions. There are times when systems need to be held up to scrutiny, so problems can be addressed and change can happen. But, in general, as a society, we are very quick to blame outside forces for our discontent. For many, the very last person to be held responsible is ourselves.

What if we took responsibility for our own financial situation, our successes and failures, even our own health? What if we took responsibility for our happiness?

And then, what if we took it a step further?

I came across a book called Zero Limits by Joe Vitale and Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len. It teaches the Hawaiian ho’oponopono method, which is about taking responsibility – for everything. I’m not just talking about taking responsibility for your bad mood. I’m talking about taking responsibility for your neighbour’s bad mood when he screams at you for parking on his side of the driveway. I’m talking about taking responsibility for the bad things happening across the globe – like wars, poverty and disease.

The argument is that if something has come into your life – your world – then it is your responsibility. It’s not anything I’d ever considered before, but it’s something I’ve thought a lot about since reading the book.

Would the world be a better place if we all took complete responsibility for ourselves – for everything that touches us, affects us and comes into our lives? I think so. Absolutely.