1. Taxi driver: What a Municipal Corporation! Can’t even maintain roads, all corrupt fellows.
I: You did not see the pothole. You could have avoided it had you seen it.
The taxi driver takes off on another rant.
2. I: I am sorry that I put too much salt in the dish. You can balance it by adding it to some rice where I have deliberately not put any salt.
Guest: Never mind. You don’t have to blame yourself. Sometimes such mistakes happen.
I: No, I am responsible.
Guest: Okay be a masochist if you insist.
3. I: You have over billed me.
Shop keeper: Re checks the total and says “ Galti hogaya” (There has been a mistake.)
I: No, a mistake has not occurred, you have made a mistake.
Shop keeper: What is the difference? I am saying the same thing!
I give up.
I can go on and on with other examples. Our language has evolved to pass the blame on to other people or things or fate and we do not take responsibility for our mistakes and goof ups. We tend to use more of the passive verb form of communication than the active when our own actions are concerned.
Let me give two examples that my brother in law Raju used to illustrate the same phenomenon but to illustrate the need to take responsibility for our actions.
“Consider this excuse -“I can’t exercise today because I can’t find the time, my friend is in town and she is taking up all my time”.
Consider this one ” I can’t exercise today because it is not a priority for me. My friend is in town and I would rather spend it with her. It’s a conscious choice I am making”.
See the difference? In the first statement, you play the victim. In the second you are taking responsibility for your actions. You are choosing not to exercise, you know that it may not be the wisest choice but you are not laying the blame of the friend in town. It’s YOU who makes that choice. I know what I would do, I would go exercise anyway and I am quite sure either the friend will join me or entertain herself for that one hour. She is unlikely to think I am a bad friend or a bad hostess if she were a true friend.”
I try and avoid the blame game and mostly succeed. But even being very conscious of this phenomenon, sometimes, though rarely, I do catch myself blaming others or circumstances for my own lack of awareness.
Are you conscious of this phenomenon?
This topic was suggested by Maxi for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium (LBC) where currently six of us write on the same topic every Friday. This is part of a series of Shakespeare titles that Maria had come up with. I hope that you enjoy my contribution to that effort. The five other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Ashok, gaelikaa, Maxi, and Shackman and The Old Fossil. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, or not at all this week, do give some allowance for that too!
I am posting my contribution a day early as I leave early tomorrow morning on a vacation. I will be back next week in time to take up next week’s topic.