Growth 3 min read

Our Need To Blame

Sometimes it's your fault.

When a misfortune strikes us, often our first instinct is to ask “Why did this happen?”.  Quickly, we jump to wondering “Who is responsible?”.

Why do we go looking for someone to hold responsible for our difficulties instead of focusing on fixing them? Why do we place finding solutions as less important than finding fault?

It is because we have a deep seated need to blame.

So, what is to “blame” for our need to blame? In a study published by the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, researchers have found that pointing the finger of blame is actually a social condition.

During the study, participants who read stories blaming others for a major issue were more likely to participate in spreading blame when surveyed than those who had read an impartial story or one where blame was shared.

We play the blame game if we think others are playing as well.(Photo: We play the blame game if we think others are playing as well.)

We pick up on social queues and adopt behaviors that we think are acceptable making the blame game justifiable.

The study further went on to research how participants held themselves responsible. When reading articles that pointed the finger at a specific individual, they were quicker to blame others for their own troubles.

However, when reading about instances where responsibility was shared or owned up to, participants were more willing to accept their role in creating their own issues.

When others take responsibility for their faults, we feel more comfortable owning up to our own failures.

People will forgive you. (Photo: People will forgive you. )

Though the need to blame is a normal social condition, it does not make it an inescapable one. There are ways we can look at the nature of finding fault and destroy its hold on us.

We can start by no longer participating in the blame game.

Instead of pointing fingers, reach out a friendly hand. (Photo: Instead of pointing fingers, reach out a friendly hand. )

As the study found, we feel more comfortable admitting to our own culpability if we feel others have also admitted to their own. These results hold the key for dismantling our need to blame.

We can remove the shame associated with self blame by regularly accepting personal responsibility for our actions. This will encourage others to do the same until passing the buck is no longer the norm.

If we are able to minimize the social acceptability of pointing the finger at others, we can proudly take the blame for ending our need to blame.

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