Are the Kardashians really to blame?

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I promise, this is the only time you’ll ever see me write about the Kardashians!  But, the recent overdose of Lamar Odom brought up a topic close to my heart, and I felt moved to share.

Here’s the deal:

We cannot change another person on our own.  No matter how hard we try and how right we think we are, it’s a losing battle.  

Also, the unhappiness we feel about a situation is typically not solely the fault of someone else.

We often spend too much time focusing on what’s wrong with other people versus looking at ourselves and taking responsibility for our choices and the outcome.  When I read about Lamar, despite my feelings about anything Kardashian, I was deeply sad.  Then came the storm of accusations and finger pointing at his friends and family for not getting him to change and even causing the situation.  Yes, we even like to finger point and blame on behalf of other people sometimes!

Full disclosure, my husband died of an accidental drug overdose 15 years ago – he was 37.  Yes it broke my heart in a million pieces for my loss but also for the life he missed out on living himself. And this story reminded me how hard I “worked” to change my late husband and how powerless I felt over my own situation as he battled his demons and addiction. I yelled, cried and negotiated, sometimes all in the same breath. The only viable solution I saw involved him changing.  I neglected to look at the choices I made that got me there as well as the different options I had the power to choose right then and there.

As I think back this was part of a pattern of finger pointing, trying to force a change and ending up feeling depleted and stuck.  I like to call it “the blame, change game”.  For example, when I was 24 and working in an industry I hated (and chose myself), I blamed my father for not being willing to pay my rent so I could quit and go back to school (also on his dime).  It was his fault I unhappily stayed in that job another 5 years, not mine. I thought it would all be different if I could have just changed his way of thinking.  Another stellar example, I dated a man for 3 years and worked really hard to “cure” his fear of commitment.  Again, his fault, not mine, for the unhappy single life I felt stuck in.

We cannot make someone change when they don’t want to. It’s a difficult and often costly lesson to learn.  We are powerless to save another from whatever change we decide is right and good for them. The time and energy we put in is usually wasted and at our own expense.

We’re often ready to work hard to change someone else but typically not willing to put effort into changing ourselves. 

It’s easier to point the finger when something isn’t working out the way we want.  It is confronting to take responsibility for what’s happening or not happening in our own life.  In fact, there’s a smart strategy behind “the blame, change game”: Not only do we get to avoid responsibility but also get too busy focusing on someone else’s issues to address our own.

Where in life might you be finger pointing or trying to change another person?  What’s possible if you step into YOUR power and take action to make your own changes?

There’s so much power in taking responsibility for our circumstances. When I catch myself in “the blame, change game”, I often remember my mother’s words; when you point a finger at someone else there are always three fingers pointing back at you!

Elan