I had a terrible outing playing tennis the other day. By the end of my play I stood completely frustrated with my effort, As I can be prone to do, I eagerly distributed the blame for all that happened. My partner was at fault; the courts were too slippery, the other team made terrible line calls, the sun was in my eyes, and the net was too high. I had a hang nail also, but I don’t think it affected anything, although I am not sure.
This tennis game became a metaphor for something that has become habit forming, assigning responsibility away from me and onto others. We call this practice of making people, things and circumstances bear the responsibility for our problems scapegoating and it has been an easy strategy for me to escape my role in the things that have happened in my life.
I must say that, since I have become such an expert on this phenomenon, I have developed a keen sense of when others are engaged in a similar practice. Without exception, everyone I have ever met has put in a bid to own his or her own scapegoat.
Now I am not implying that we alone should be held responsible for everything that has happened in our lives. As children, for example, we bear no blame for what adults did to us. Nor can we accept blame for being a victim of a crime, like rape or robbery. Evil exits in the world and it has no justification, period. However, I have learned that we have the responsibility for deciphering and learning the lesson inherent in every event that affects our lives, even evil ones.
But that is hard to do because everyone has an internal part that resists change. Psychiatrist and spiritual leaders call this our ego. Shadowing our ego leads to a dichotomy of choices between the lives we have and the lives we want to live. Because the ego fears your transformation, it offers resistance by way of scapegoating. By blaming others we can refrain from taking responsibility and making the necessary changes to grow from the experience. Scapegoating allows us to plays it safe and keeps us a slave to the ordinary. If someone else is at fault, then there is nothing we need except to sit back and bitch about them.
I have spent a lot of time complaining. “Poor me”, I sulk as I pet my imaginary scapegoat, while I remain stuck in the scrap heap of mediocrity. But after having lived through many transitional events, I understand that I am the only one who has the ability and responsibility to pick myself up by the bootstraps and surge forward. I recognize that I sabotage myself when I blame others, things or circumstances so I have stopped doing so. By letting go of this unhealthy practice, I stop my whining and move forward, often finding new and wonderful directions and opportunities. This doesn’t mean I am not scared, but taking ownership of my responsibility makes me hopeful and also gives my life direction.
I think this is what being resilient means, you experience the fear and know the excuses but you move forward with the changes needed to overcome the situation. Become a resilient warrior and keep battling to transform into your greatest self. Remember that we are responsible for living the life we want. To become resilient when confronted with setbacks, you must start out by asking who the lesson is for and who needs to change in order to evolve. For me, the answer is always the same, and it comes from the lyrics of Sting’s song titled, I Hate To Say It, it goes like this,
“I hate to say it, I hate to say it, but it’s probably me.”
It’s probably you as well, so get rid of your scapegoats and take action. This is your antidote for a more fulfilling life.
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