It’s so easy to fall into blame. If only it were warmer outside, I would get more exercise. If only I had more time, I would read that book. If only I wasn’t broke, life would be so much easier. If only people weren’t so stupid, I would have better friends.
When you make claims like this (something I’m guilty of far too often) you’re saying that you have no control over how you’re feeling. You’re placing your happiness into the hands of people and events outside of yourself. The result is that you might feel good sometimes when things are going your way, but as soon as the clouds inevitably roll in, you’ll go back down into the dumps.
These beliefs of victimhood are the reason people spend so much time advocating for other people to solve their problems. That’s why they want the “government” to give them free healthcare and they want everyone else to use the correct terminology so they don’t get offended. That’s why they’re so obsessed with “privilege.” It’s no wonder they’re never happy.
In “The Six Pillars of Self Esteem,” Nathaniel Branden explains how taking responsibility for your own happiness can transform your life.
One of the characteristics of immaturity is the belief that it is someone else’s job to make me happy—much as it was once my parents’ job to keep me alive. If only someone would love me, then I would love myself. If only someone would take care of me, then I would be contented. If only someone would spare me the necessity of making decisions, then I would be carefree. If only someone would make me happy. Here’s a simple but powerful stem to wake one up to reality: If I take full responsibility for my personal happiness—. Taking responsibility for my happiness is empowering. It places my life back in my own hands. Ahead of taking this responsibility, I may imagine it will be a burden. What I discover is that it sets me free.
If you believe your happiness is primarily in your own hands, you give yourself enormous power. You don’t wait for events or other people to make you happy. If something is wrong, your response is not, “Someone’s got to do something!” but “What can I do?”
Take action on this today. When something irks you and you start to blame the world outside of yourself, take a minute and think about what you can do about it. Then take those steps.