Home » Self Improvement

The Blame Game

Jun 10, 2008
In my research for my book Happy for No Reason, which focuses on the core habits of unconditionally happy people, I discovered that one of the main ways we rob ourselves of happiness in life is feeling like a victim. Unfortunately, this habit can be very subtle and deeply ingrained. I first became aware of people's victim patterns in my days as a corporate trainer. I used to teach classes on the importance of taking personal responsibility, and at the beginning of class, I'd ask everyone if they'd agree to come back from our breaks on time. They all said yes. Whoever was late would have to stand in front of the class and sing their high school fight song or a song I chose if they couldn't remember back to their alma mater days.

I can't tell you how many successful, hot-shot Fortune 500 executives were late and then made excuses, blamed others, or complained about our agreement! It was amazing to see how hard it was for people to take responsibility, even in small ways. But I held steady and by the end of the three-day class, we'd all been treated to numerous renditions of my favorite choice, "Stop in the Name of Love," performed by top executives wearing nametags and sheepish expressions.

Then a few years ago, I went to a three-day seminar where the tables were turned on me. The seminar leader had a rule that any time my seminar-mates or I acted like a victim -- any time we blamed anyone, made an excuse, complained, indulged in self-pity, or beat ourselves up -- we had to put two dollars into a bucket.

I couldn't get over how many times I did every one of those things in the course of a day! When I was late, I blamed the line at breakfast. Oops! There went two dollars (at least I didn't have to sing). When I complained that I was too cold, it cost me another two dollars. (After all the seminars I've taken where the rooms are like ice-boxes, you'd think I'd know to bring a sweater.) Blaming, feeling shame, and complaining had become so automatic that I was unconscious of doing them. I spent the whole day emptying my wallet, but the two-dollar fine was a small price to pay for learning how often I played the victim.

I wasn't alone -- by the end of the three days, our bucket was full to the brim. (We gave it to a local charity.) And we were playing the victim/blame game a lot less -- just by paying attention to our habits.

I recommend you try this exercise for one week with your family, co-workers, or friends and see what happens. My guess is that you'll end up having collected some big bucks for charity too. Your new awareness will benefit you as well, providing clear cues for changing your behavior, and nabbing the happiness robbers in your life.
About the Author
Marci Shimoff is author of the new book Happy for No Reason: 7 Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out; plus Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul and Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul, making her one of the bestselling female nonfiction authors of all time. She's also a featured teacher in the international film and book phenomenon, The Secret. Visit Happy for No Reason.
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 162
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources