We all play it. But funny, no one ever wins. I’m talking about blame. Why do we do it? Because we need to explain why things in our lives aren’t where we want them to be. Think about your stress levels alone: You think, if only my boss weren’t so demanding, my rent weren’t so high, my partner wasn’t so demanding. But as soon as we start doling out blame, our own sense of ability and empowerment goes along with it.

In his Ultimate Edge program, Tony Robbins points out the three places we tend to blame when things go awry. We can blame:

  • An event. An easy one to do (especially because an event itself can’t disagree with you). This means the story you tell based on what happens around you, whether it’s that you lost your job, or your mother is sick, or your schedule is out of control. And even if that story is 100% true, says Robbins, blaming it all on that circumstance “reinforces the idea that the outside world controls you.” We have to master the inside world first,” he says. All you have to do is look at the stories of people who overcame the very worst circumstances to see that they alone cannot be credited with what happens in your life.
  • Someone else. He’s a jerk! She’s thoughtless. It’s all her fault! If he hadn’t done this, then that wouldn’t have happened. Convenient, right? Nothing happens in a vacuum, and we all play a role in what happens in our lives, no matter how much we may want to believe it’s someone else’s fault. I recently read It’s Not About the Horse by Wyatt Webb, a psychotherapist and creator of Miraval’s The Equine Experience in Tucson, Arizona. And in it he says we’re all 100% responsible for 50% of every relationship we’re in. When we stop blaming, we can become accountable.
  •  Yourself. Of course sometimes the pendulum swings too far in the other direction, and you put all of the blame on you. And while this sounds responsible, says Robbins, it isn’t really. Because when you blame yourself, you usually end up beating yourself up. Just as blame doesn’t fix a relationship with someone else, it also doesn’t allow for any internal growth.

What you can blame, says Robbins, it’s the habitual pattern you’re running. It’s also in your power to change. But as long as you believe everything’s your fault and that you’ll always be lousy, well, you’re not being accountable for your actions, you’re just feeling sorry for yourself. “You become entrenched in the idea that you’re not capable of improving,” says Robbins.

In short, blame keeps you stuck. Robbins advises busting out of that rut by finding a role model (Who’s done what you want to do? Who’s been through something similar to what you have? How did she overcome it?). By getting focused about what it is you want and don’t want. Because as Robbins says, when something in your life isn’t the way you want it, that doesn’t mean things are all wrong—it means you have an amazing opportunity to make it right, and in so doing, learn, grow, and expand. Think about not what happened or what someone could have done—but what you can do differently, starting now.

Source: Ultimate Edge by Tony Robbins

Terri Trespicio is a writer, speaker, expert, and coach, and creator of bestdecisionallday.com. You can also visit her trespicio.com.