The Problem with Blame
If you find yourself in an altercation with another person, it is a natural response to assume that they were at fault. However, there are several problems that come along with being quick to blame others instead of taking responsibility for our actions.
- Prevents personal growth. Blaming others is a sign that you aren’t mature enough to take responsibility for your actions if you were in the wrong. If you know that the mistake was yours and you blame another person, you are depriving yourself of the chance to grow and improve. Blaming others for something minor does nothing to help yourself; it only harms the other person and yourself. If there is a major mistake that you made, especially at work as a nurse, blaming others means that you aren’t learning from the experience. You’ll also miss out on the chance to fix the mistake and make amends, thereby inhibiting your personal integrity.
- Alienates others. When you place the blame on others, whether they were in the wrong or not, you do nothing but harm your relationship with them. If the other party is guilty of committing whatever wrong is in question and you vocally place the blame on them, you may be preventing them from taking accountability for themselves. No one likes to be forced into repentance and apologies. If the person did not make the mistake and you are just looking for a scapegoat for your own problems, that coworker or friend might discover that you are only looking out for yourself and will keep their distance, which leads us to the next point.
- Makes you untrustworthy. When other people, be they coworkers, supervisors, or patients, see you blame others for everything (whether or not they deserve it) they will see that you are quick to judge and find fault with others. You’ll have a very hard time gaining their trust if they are afraid that you’ll blame them for something you did or call them out on a mistake they made.
- Starts a cycle of negativity. When you place an emphasis on who is to blame rather than on personal accountability, you start a cycle of negativity, both within yourself and with others. By refusing to take responsibility for your own actions, and denying yourself the chance to grow, you’ll quickly find yourself in a professional rut that is hard to get out of. You might lose self-confidence because you haven’t given yourself the opportunity to improve. Others will also see that you’re focused more on assigning blame than correcting the problem, which could lead to an overall negative mood with your coworkers and patients.
- You give up control. When you blame others for your problems, you give up control. This is why those struggling with addiction often have a difficult time escaping it – because they hold other people accountable for their choices. When you place the blame on others for what’s happening in your own life or at work, you lose the possibility of control over the situation.
Are You Blaming Others?
Blaming others for our own problems isn’t often a conscious thing. When a person does this, they may genuinely think that other people should be held accountable for what’s going on. One key thing to look at to find out if you are a chronic blamer of other people is how fights or arguments end when you are involved. If you are always the winner of the argument, or believe that you are, there is a chance that you are placing blame on others. If you believe that most of the problems in your life are not your fault, from disagreements with other nurses to quarrels with your significant other, but that they are caused by others involved, you may need to take a closer look at the circumstances to find out if you are being accurate in your assessment of the situation.
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How to Change
You cannot control how others behave, or whether they take responsibility for their actions. Fortunately, that isn’t your problem. You can only control yourself and your own actions. Even in situations where you know you are right and that someone else does actually deserve blame for it, do your best to refrain from vocally placing blame. You cannot force someone else to take responsibility. You can take it, or you can leave it, but you can’t give it to someone else. They have to do that themselves.
By abstaining from assigning blame to others, deserved or not, you’ll take back much more control of your life and career. You’ll also stop the cycle of negativity that can accompany the urge to blame. This will help you as a nurse, because as we all know, kindness, compassion, and empathy are paramount in the profession. These characteristics should be practiced daily, not only with patients, but with coworkers and other members of staff as well. Once you have mastered the urge to lay blame, you’ll be better prepared to move forward and become the best nurse you can be.