Blame – Idle Thoughts

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.

darran-shen-588310-unsplash

Breaking the losing streak: it’s stupidly simple

You’ve developed a bad habit: procrastination, but to a new degree. You stop– or don’t start– doing something because you feel like you aren’t enough. It’s not simply procrastination anymore. There is much more malice behind it now. Too much for you to handle. You won’t go outside because you feel like you’re inside too much. You won’t draw because you feel you can’t get better. You won’t call your friend and apologize because you’re afraid of them hating you. You won’t write because you’re worried about your writing not being good enough. Or your blog not being good enough. Too worried about it being perfect. Yeah, that one is personal.

This happens to us sometimes, and it’s stupid, we know it. Before it happens, we know it’s stupid. In hindsight, we know for sure that that kind of thinking was, not only stupid, but detrimental to ourselves. But why, for the love of all things good, don’t we realize that there is a very simple solution to when we find ourselves in that kind of rut? It really isn’t rocket science. If you never leave the house, then you’ll never get outside. If you never draw, you’ll never get better. If you never apologize, your friend will never like you. If you never write, your writing will never be good enough. Do you see where this is going?

We sometimes get caught up in a viscous cycle of negativity that feeds itself. You feel bad about not doing something, so you don’t do it. You feel bad that you still didn’t do it, and so you still don’t do it. It happens over and over and over again until, inch by inch, you’ve dug yourself 6 feet under. You get to a point where you feel It’s too late to go out and make a change. It’s too late for you to do better. It’s too late for your friend to forgive you. And while people like to say that’s it’s never too late to do what you need,* things will certainly be harder on you to do what needs to be done the longer you wait.

It starts with a day. You go a day not doing what you should. You’ll apologize/draw/whatever tomorrow. And then the next day comes. You figure, it’s only two days. The next day comes again. You figure it’s only three days, then four, then five. Soon it’s only been a week, then a month. By the time you’ve hit two months, you’ve developed a habit. It takes 66 days for a habit to form. By 66 days, you will gotten yourself into the habit of telling yourself you need to do something, not doing it, and then feeling like crap about not doing it. It’s almost like an addiction, except there’s no reward. There’s no high or fuzziness. There isn’t even a physical release to distract you from your problem. Instead, you’re addicted to the issue, and that in itself is a bigger problem.

The sad thing is that it is ridiculously easy to fix this problem. I don’t care how deep into it you are. A centimeter, or the whole nine yards. Your body isn’t physically depending on a chemical in order to keep from withdrawal, nor is the pain you’re causing upon yourself distracting you from more pain. It is a cycle that you can stop simply by doing what it is you keep telling yourself you need to do. It is really as simple as that. Just do it. It isn’t too hard to pick up a phone and call someone. It isn’t too hard to go walk around the block, even if only for a little while. It isn’t too hard to pick up a pencil and paper and let what needs to come out flow.

Even if it worries you, even if it terrifies you, you sometimes just have to do what needs to be done. Even if I’m worried about not keeping up with daily post or writing about anything good or anything like that. It’s a feeling I can escape simply by doing what I know I need, no, what I want to do. I don’t necessarily need to write in order to survive, nor does one have to draw or apologize to people or even interact with the world in order to survive. But when you can’t do the things that you really want to do because you’re afraid of doing them, then life becomes a worthless bit of existence that you hold onto tightly because you are too scared of any and everything worth living for.

Until tomorrow, or next time, whichever comes first.

*I do agree with this. It’s never too late, so that let that ever be an excuse.

Use your resources

When I was younger, one thing my mother used to always tell me was, that If I didn’t understand something, to ask questions. This was actually really difficult for me as a kid. I was always praised for being smart, and so I figured that, if I didn’t understand something right away, I wasn’t smart. I didn’t want to seem stupid, so a lot of the time I’d simply struggle through things until it eventually clicked. Thankfully it did all of the time (else I’d be kind of screwed right now), but I would have saved myself a lot of time and headaches if I had just swallowed my useless pride and asked for help.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, I was also afraid to ask people to do things and for things I wanted. I was so afraid of people saying no that I didn’t realize not asking was basically the same thing. Over time, I learned that you never had anything to lose when it came to asking someone for something. The worse that could happen when you ask someone for a favor is the same as the thing that will happen if you don’t: it doesn’t happen at all. I think I’d rather gamble on a chance of being told yes than accepting no as my fate. If I asked everyone I came in contact with during a day for a dollar, someone would say yes eventually, making me a dollar richer than if I didn’t ask anyone at all.

I’ve learned that it’s good to ask for help, and that it’s okay to ask for things. In general, I’ve learned that it’s good to ask questions. With all of the resources that one may have access too, it only makes sense to use them. I’m not just talking about teachers and mentors who are available to help you in life in general. You have people in your life who have things that they no longer need or what. It is very possible that you may need or want something that someone else has. Even if you don’t know if they have it, it wouldn’t hurt to ask. You never know what someone would be willing to give you. Personally, I’ve acquired a great deal of much needed and wanted items over the years by getting them from friends, family, and mentors.

Everyone is a resource, and you should make sure to keep that in mind. It’s the same thing as networking (actually, it is networking pretty much). Just remember, however, that you can’t expect people to help you if you don’t help them out when you can. I’m not saying to kiss up to someone every time you need something, because that shouldn’t be the only time you interact with them. I’m only saying that if you can help someone, help them. You never know if they’ll be able to help you out as well. No one can do life on their own, and even if someone could, I doubt they’d want to do it.