Hardly a day goes by that we don’t complain, criticize, blame, gossip, or compare ourselves to other people. I certainly struggle with it.
I’ll take 30 minutes to journal or meditate only to hop in the car to grab my daughter from kindergarten and silently (ok fine, not so silently) curse everyone in the pickup line who doesn’t understand the basic concepts of driving a car. All of a sudden I’m tense, grumpy, and sometimes downright furious. And all of that mindfulness work to put me in the right headspace for the rest of the day? Yeah, it’s gone right out the window.
It’s a small example, but one that demonstrates how easily we turn to emotional reasoning (I feel it, therefore it must be true) to dictate and justify our reactions. And despite our best efforts, emotions are very difficult to control. But we do control them.
Every response we make to people and events—whether it’s out of habit or consciously thought out—is a choice. A choice to take ownership of our actions or to place blame on someone else. It’s our choice to say who is in control of our lives. Either you run the day or it runs you.
How (and why) we love to play the victim
The victim mentality—the idea that we are not responsible for our actions and circumstances—is a story that, quite literally, goes back to the beginning of time. Adam blamed Eve for eating the forbidden apple, who in turn, blamed the serpent for persuading her.
Today, thanks to the internet and social media, blame, criticism, and a general lack of acceptance have become a regular part of our daily dialogue.