In times of crisis, it’s easy to play the blame game. Overwhelmed by uncertainty, we can fall prey to a helpless mindset that can quickly turn to anger and accusations – even if we never express those feelings to others. Blaming others or our circumstances is an attempt to regain control of our lives. Even blaming ourselves offers some comfort because we are, in a way, telling ourselves and the world that we know where we went wrong and are capable of whatever it is that we failed to achieve.
While the blame game might restore some superficial sense of control, it often creates more problems than it solves. Telling yourself that someone or something else is the cause of your misfortune often disempowers you further because – as this “Great Pause of 2020” has made abundantly clear – you control very little outside of your own actions. Blaming yourself, on the other hand, leads to a kind of self-labeling that leaves you feeling powerless to change your circumstances.
Though it may feel uncomfortable at first, one method to working with your uncertainty lies in assuming more agency and leadership in your life. In a chaotic world that makes learned helplessness an easy default choice, taking this kind of radical responsibility can be a creative, deliberate choice to show up for this one life every day.
But how does one assume agency?(more…)