How do you respond to disappointment in life? Learn why blame may be holding you back, and how you can learn to let it go and get what you want.
Some disappointments and setbacks in life are inevitable. But are they really what stops you from getting what you want? Or is it your response to them?
Wendy Bateman from Choose U explains how blame can hold us back in life – and how you can learn to let it go.
Is blame holding you back?
Do you ever think about doing something new and adventurous – maybe changing your career, starting a business, trying a new hobby, going for a promotion or just setting yourself an ambitious goal?
But rather than successfully start taking the steps towards achieving it, you fall at the first small hurdle and find something or someone else to blame for not getting what you want?
Blame is a funny old thing that we all use too often when we aren’t happy with a situation. We blame the weather for not going out on a run, our boss for our bad mood, or childbirth for our body shape… the list can be endless.
But simply staying passively where we are and blaming someone or something else for our problems or lack of progress gets us absolutely nowhere at all – except usually into an even worse mood than we were already in.
How blame has held me back
I have many examples where I have blamed someone or something for not achieving a goal. And if I am honest, in some cases, I still do.
About four years ago I was offered a place and almost enrolled on a degree course at Salford University. But when the timetable was disclosed, it didn’t fit in with my children’s or husband’s schedule. I was very negative about this and went through several familiar blame emotions:
- It’s just not fair.
- This always happens, it’s always the same.
- I’m never going to be able to change my career, may as well give up trying.
- I didn’t really want to do it anyway.
I felt powerless, angry, upset, unconfident, confused, frustrated, and lethargic and resigned to the situation. And because of this, I declined my place.
I let the opportunity go because of blame
But where did that get me? If I am honest I could have found a way to do the degree. I might have had to change the goal posts a little and asked for more help and support, and I could certainly have needed to make sacrifices.
It would have been difficult but I know that if I had really applied myself, it could have been possible. But I let the opportunity go because I was stuck in the blame cycle.
And what about you? Does this sound familiar to you? Have you allowed blame to stop you from going for something you really want? Do you need to find a more positive way to move past disappointments and rejections?
If so, you need to break the cycle of blame.
How is blame helping you?
You don’t need a degree in psychology to realise that blaming something or someone doesn’t make things better or right.
It might make you feel better to shout, swear and be angry in the short term, but once you’ve spent five or ten minutes feeling sorry for yourself, try asking yourself the question: ‘Does it feel good staying where I am? With all the negative thoughts and blame?’
As justified as your self-pity may be – you may indeed be the victim of a great injustice or unfair decision or situation – how is it helping you? Is retaliating by doing nothing and blaming others actually getting you what you want, or where you want to be? Or is it simply holding you back, keeping you stuck in that moment?
And maybe it’s doing something even worse, and actually preventing you from taking positive steps to work around your disappointment and achieve your goal by other means? Or set a new, more achievable goal?
You might not be able to forgive something that happens to you, but surely it’s better for YOU to forget and move on?
Four steps to breaking the cycle of blame
The key to breaking the cycle of blame is to change the way you think, and move from a negative frame of mind into a more positive one. To allow yourself to feel powerful, happy, driven, positive, focused, energetic, enthusiastic , forward thinking – like you can tackle any problem.
In fact, there are four simple steps to break the cycle of blame:
- Accept that the negative place or mindset you are in isn’t helping you.
- Allow yourself to still desire the original goal you first set.
- Stop blaming and become accountable for your own happiness.
- Find a way forward by creating a plan.
When did I become accountable for my happiness?
So what happened to me after I declined my place on the degree course I wanted so much?
After 12 months of blame and feeling negative, I still wasn’t fulfilled. I had remained in exactly the same place as I was before applying for the degree. I felt lethargic, bored and frustrated.
It was a conversation with a good friend that finally made me snap out of it and realise I had a choice. She was talking about starting up a business, and while she was enthusing I had a ‘light bulb’ moment: “So could I”.
I let the blame go
In that moment, I just let the blame go. I stopped letting all the negative reasons for not doing the degree hold me back and suddenly, anything seemed possible. Options opened up in front of me.
It occurred to me then that I had run my own successful business before children. So what was stopping me from starting another?
And I did. That was the moment that my business, Choose U was formed. And I haven’t looked back since.
Are you ready to let your blame go?
What about you? Are you allowing blame and negative emotions to hold you back? To prevent you from seeing the opportunities that are available to all of us clearly?
Disappointments happen to us all at some point in our lives. But that’s not what is important. What IS important is how you deal with those setbacks. So stop blaming and start moving forward on your terms!
Wendy is an experienced teacher, personal trainer and NLP coach and owner of Choose U, a unique personal development and confidence building programme for groups of women in Manchester and Cheshire.Wendy Bateman