Why You Should Blame Yourself When Things Go Wrong

Why you should blame yourself when things go wrong

It’s natural to look around and try to figure out what went wrong when things don’t go as planned.

Done properly, that can be a good thing. The problem is, “figuring out what went wrong” often equates to making excuses or blaming others. It’s an easy (but dangerous) habit to fall into.

We don’t want to be wrong

Why do we blame outside forces? Well, who likes being wrong? Pretty much no one. When we feel like we’ve screwed up or done something stupid, we feel foolish. Our self confidence takes a dive — especially if the screw-up happens again and again.

But failure is essential.

It’s how we all learn and improve, IF we don’t lie to ourselves or ignore the lessons.

The pitfalls of blaming outside forces

Lying to ourselves often looks like this:

“Well,” we say, “I’d have done a lot better with sticking to the budget if x, y, and z hadn’t happened. Next month will be better.”

So we move on, feeling a little discouraged, but not terribly worried.

But next month, things go wrong again, and we come up with yet another reason excuse for what happened. This time our budget was busted because it was a 5-week month instead of four, and we can’t do anything about that, right?

Why blaming yourself can be good

But blame yourself for the budgeting issues (or whatever the issue is) and something amazing happens.

You start to make changes.

You start to act and react differently.

You try harder, and get more creative.

Once you start asking, ok, what did I do that contributed to this issue, you’ll find things to try or do differently. (Maybe you need to budget weekly instead of monthly. Maybe you need a slush fund, because now know that there is no perfect month. Maybe you need a variable budget. Or whatever…)

Almost like magic, the issues will get smaller and smaller, until one day the things that used to cause massive stress or derail you entirely are no longer even a blip on your radar.

One comment

  • I agree with you when you say that blaming other people or things is ineffective. I have trouble though with the idea that you should “blame yourself when things go wrong.” Sometimes, we really aren’t to blame. Maybe the company we work for goes under. Maybe the foundation of the house cracks. There are things outside of our control that can go wrong and become a big problem. Rather than say, “Blame yourself” when things go wrong, I would suggest, “Take ownership of your situation,” when things go wrong. It’s a more powerful position than to “blame” others or yourself.