Blame is a word I haven’t thought about in a long while. It’s a concept I haven’t thought about in a long while either, not in a traditional sense at least. When I think of blame, I imagine explicitly deferring a problem to a specific person. There is always something major that happened, but the fault lies with the person being blamed. It’s specific, it’s concrete, it’s in your face. With blame, there is the accuser and the accused, and at some point, the accuser will look the accused in eyes and tell them that they are the problem, regardless of whether it is true or not. Yeah, I’m above blame. I must be if I nearly forgot about the word, right? Of course not. It is never that simple.
Blame was prevalent back when I was younger. In those days, when something went wrong, we looked at who we thought (or who we wanted) to be the problem and pointed it out. Skipping school? It was Chester’s fault. Missed an assignment? My sister’s fault, she stole my pencils. Are you noticing something here? Blame is defined as the responsibility for a fault or wrong. All I did was assign that blame to something or someone else. That doesn’t work when you’re older. People defend themselves with alibis and histories of integrity. As adults, we don’t blame anymore. It is not a valid way to deal with problems that others will accept. Instead, we come up with excuses.
An excuse is defined as a reason or explanation to defend or justify a fault. So what does that mean? Excuses are just subtle ways to blame other people and things for our own mistakes. Excuses are blame laced with sympathy, relatability, and the idea that the entire ordeal was completely unavoidable. It’s crafty. It’s wrong sometimes, but it can feel good. I have definitely taken advantage of poor situations I have found myself in to develop reasonable excuses for inaction, and I’ll be the first to tell you if no one else has: it sucks. There is temporary relief and release, and sometimes a small part of it is necessary. But what about the people who had valid excuses that just didn’t seem believable? The excuses that weren’t relatable enough, or the excuses that just couldn’t elicit any sympathy? The valid excuses that have been reduced to simple blame for someone’s own selfish sake?
Those situations are unfortunate, and I don’t think I can do much to keep them from happening. What I can do is respect the incidents that truly leave individuals incapable of doing anything. I can do the only thing I know how: move forward. We all have excuses, that much we can agree on. But how many of those are real? How many of these excuses are just us blaming something or someone else for our own laziness? Trying to justify ourselves for the sake of our ego at the expense of our dreams. It is despicable, especially for the people who can’t, and they are often the ones who change their realities by doing the impossible. Even if the excuse is valid, who really cares? At the end of the day, you are only hurting yourself. At the end of the day, my excuses have only hurt me. So own them. Accept them. Release them. I’ll do the only thing I can do in the aftermath: move forward.