The Blame Game

Sometimes (ok, make that nearly all the time) it’s just easier to blame other people for things that happen to us than to take responsibility for our own role in creating a given situation.

Even if we feel that we aren’t responsible, say, for example, if something happened in childhood, as we reach adulthood, we become responsible for cleaning up the mess, even if we didn’t make it.

The unfortunate truth is that, while blaming other people feels good (and yes, I know it does), it does little to resolve the situation.

When we step out of blame, we step into our own personal power. We claim, or reclaim, our own ability to create the future we want to live in.

But how do we get there? What propels us out of The Blame Game?

For me, it is the desire for change (and the acknowledgment that doing the same old thing doesn’t get me anywhere I really want to go). The familiar can be comfortable for a time, but eventually it becomes unbearable, stifling.

Even still, The Blame Game has its allure. Things happen – difficult, upsetting things – and I look for someone else to hold responsible. Someone else’s behavior or actions to dissect or critique.

And yet, I know that I can choose to grow into my own future by acknowledging what I learned from a disappointing experience, forgiving myself for any mistakes I made which might have contributed to it, and gracefully letting go.

Every day, we have the opportunity to make the smallest choices which can make the biggest difference.


Recently I attended a study retreat with Swami Bodhananda in which the topic of renunciation was discussed in some detail. Renunciation is choosing to give up things we are attached to. In giving up our attachments, we free ourselves. He said, “Renunciation is the secret of happiness.” True happiness (bliss) is outside of the pleasure/pain cycle, where pleasure is inevitably followed by pain.

Think about it. You desire something. You get a little of it. You feel pleasure. You want more. You don’t get it. You feel pain. And so it goes, on and on, with each desire. He compares it to drinking salt water. The more you drink, the thirstier you become. The solution? When in the world, take only what you need.

When I heard all this, I couldn’t help thinking of all of the “stuff” that most of us own. I’m surprised by how much stuff I have, every time I have to move it. (Which for me is kind of often.) Still, compared to most people, in this country at least, I don’t own much.

I used to have a lot more stuff. I thought I needed it all.

I didn’t.

But it took me a long time to realize that. It wasn’t easy to give up a lot of that stuff. I didn’t think of it in terms of renunciation. It was more of a cost/benefit analysis. If I hadn’t moved so much, maybe I wouldn’t have given it up.

Ultimately, I felt like my stuff started owning me, instead of the other way around.

When I realized that, letting go didn’t seem so difficult. After I did it, I felt much lighter.

I felt…free.