The Blame Game
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Let me say right up front that I’m not out to indict anyone. I’m mostly speaking from experience and, as a keen observer of human nature, I’m expanding what I know was on my insides to the insides of others. So, forgive me for making this generalization about us but, as a rule, we people not great at taking responsibility. We often play the Blame Game. Let me use myself as an example:
When I was obese, I told more than one person I was overweight because I came from an obese family. Part of that statement is true – everyone in my family of origin is obese or seriously overweight. But believing for a minute that I was overweight because of that was an excuse. I was blaming something outside of myself for my weight issues.
I was so good at it! I am hypothyroid – the year before I was diagnosed I gained 25 lbs! So, yes, during that year, I could have blamed the hypothyroidism for my weight gain and surely would have had I had a diagnosis! Within 6 months of appropriate medication, my thyroid hormone levels came back to normal essentially rendering me the same as any other person with a functioning thyroid but I didn’t lose those 25lbs. For many years after diagnosis I blamed my thyroid for my weight and found lots of misery in the company of other sufferers.
It just seemed comforting somehow to not have to take responsibility for what was the truth behind my obesity - I was simply eating too much.
On the flip side, I also had lots of excuses for not exercising! I have asthma and that meant I couldn’t exert myself!! Sprinter Donovan Bailey, once the world’s fastest man, has asthma – the fact that he must have been exercising with it escaped my blaming brain – nope, I couldn’t exercise because I had asthma, and arthritis and a Morton’s neuroma and Irritable Bowel Syndrome and on and on and on and on. Once again, I didn’t have to take responsibility for myself, I could find something to blame.
But, the truth is that in addition to eating too much, I wasn’t moving enough.
What kinds of excuses are you making for not achieving your weight loss success?
The problem with the Blame Game is that, when we engage in it, we give control of our problems to something outside of ourselves that we can’t control! The resultant feeling of helplessness undermines our ability to believe that we can be grown ups in control of our own world. We give our power away when we assess blame for our own failings. Excuses are the fuel that keeps the fires of failure burning bright!
In order to take back that power and to harness its fuel for success we need to stop making excuses. We need to stand in front of a full-length mirror andm while looking ourselves straight in the eye, say, “I did this to myself.” Look down, look side-to-side if you need to and then look yourself back in the eye and say, “I can undo this too.”
Yes, my family is obese and I have asthma and my foot aches like crazy but I was fat because I ate too much and did too little.
So, I ate less and did more – no more excuses.
Every time I feel the need to look outside myself to find something to blame for my poor choices (most recently it was Christmas and my mother baked shortbread! And I ate too many!), I remember that the Blame Game can’t be won. I step up to the mirror, own up to my mistakes and carry on.