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Brené Brown - Why Do We Blame Others?

By Daniel Schmitz, Associate Partner, Lighthouse International

Everyone knows how easy it is to blame someone for something! Something went wrong in your life and as a consequence it is so easy to point fingers and to say: “This is your fault!”. Or what is probably just as common is blaming yourself: “This is my fault, I’m just rubbish at this!”.

So, if you feel you are the only person doing this, let me tell you, that is definitely not the case! 🙂


In the brilliant video below, vulnerability and shame researcher, Brené Brown speaks about her own experience of blaming and she also talks about her research results regarding blame. This is definitely a must watch and brilliantly animated 🙂


So...Why Do We Blame?

Blaming Gives Us a Feeling of Control

"How many of you go that place when something bad happens? The first thing you want to know is whose fault is it. I'd rather it be my fault than no one's fault. Because why? Why? Because it gives us some semblance of control."

Blame Is a Discharge of Discomfort And Pain

"Here is what we know from the research. Blame is simply the discharging of discomfort and pain. It has an inverse relationship with accountability. Accountability by definition is a vulnerable process. It means me calling you and saying, 'Hey my feelings were really hurt about this.' And talking is not blaming. Blaming is simply a way that we discharge anger."

Brené Brown also speaks about the consequences of blaming and how it affects our relationships.

Blaming Stops Us From Being Response-able

"People who blame a lot seldom have the tenacity and grit to actually hold people accountable. Because we've spent all of our energy raging for 15 seconds and figuring out whose fault something is."

Blaming Stops Us From Listening And Understanding

"Blaming is very corrosive in relationships, and it's one of the reasons we miss our opportunities for empathy. Because when something happens and we are hearing a story we are not really listening, we are in a place where I was making the connections as quickly as we can about whose fault something was.”

So, the question is what can you do when you are not blaming yourself or others? You are more in a place of being able to respond proactively to situations and challenges and you are either able to do something about it, or you accept it and just move on!

This is generally a character trait of legends like Leonardo DiCaprioWill Smith or Malala and they ask themselves, what can I do about it, how can I change things, instead of blaming others.

If you want to learn more about how to practice the fundamental principle of being able to respond and not blaming yourself or others click here for a practical exercise that will help...


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Featured image @ Pixabay