Depression and the Personal Politics of Blame

Depression and the Personal Politics of Blame

My son applied for a job at McDonalds a few weeks ago. The Manager promised he would call my son back two days later. Two weeks later, no call.

When all else fails, blame the person in charge?

It’s easy to blame leadership for situations like this. A lot of people applied for work that day, I can only assume that the Manager was unable to keep his promise. It happens. 

A leader cannot take all of the credit, nor all of the blame for the performance of his or her team. The staff have a responsibility, circumstances are a factor and the unique resources/deficits of the company are also a factor.

We love to blame the Democrats, religious fundamentalists, fossil fuels or the Martians. Blame is fun, but it lets us off the hook. We don’t have to take any responsibility or do anything.

You and I can exercise grace toward someone else, but what about cutting ourselves some slack?

I live with depression and anxiety. One of the challenges that it gives to me is that I become an easy target. If something goes wrong, I just blame the person in the mirror.

  • Why do we have a habit of blaming or judging?
  • What purpose does blame serve?

Blame means to assign responsibility for a fault or a wrong. But I think it is more than this. Blame is a popular thing to do because it meets a need: Blame is fun.

Blame adds fuel to our mental illness

Blame is like gasoline. It is toxic and creates fire with just a spark. Pointing fingers is like crack: it becomes a little like an addiction. Entire political parties are set up around blaming others and even some countries get in on the action.

As soon as you and I begin to blame someone, bad things happen.

  • Blame refuses to acknowledge that most things are caused by many factors.

It’s way easier to blame a leader than to acknowledge that the market is down, his or her team is new, it was Monday or the company is struggling. Blame makes things so simple.

When you face a mental illness, blame like gasoline. It creates an internal fire from one tiny spark. Blame is a toxic thought pattern. As soon as you begin finding blame, everyone loses out.

There is no cure for blame, but at least we have company.

Misery loves company. We can’t stop ourselves from blaming, but we can slowly replace the habit by just taking a breath.

When you take an intentional breath, you become a little more realistic. In reality, any situation, any decision is caused by many factors. Instead of finding blame, take a breath, get up and be realistic.

As a friend of mine says, “Maybe it’s time to pump up your own tires.” Thanks, Bill. You have a point. Blame is a signal that it’s time to go easy on yourself because blame is a dead end.

Today is a day to go easy on yourself. The funny thing is, once you take a breath, give some grace, you relax into yourself. You get more done, you are more fun to be around and people like you a little more.

So today, just Keep it Real.

Photo by Tyler Merbler

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