A setback is just that – you get set back.
A setback keeps you from moving forward. It temporarily stops you from achieving your goals. It’s an inconvenience. It’s a problem, and it very likely ticks you off.
Anger is a common reaction to many setbacks. A natural reaction to anger is to look for something or somebody to blame for the situation you find yourself in. This knee jerk reaction to look for the root of a problem has its roots in evolution. If there is an issue that threatens your survival, it makes sense that you figure out the cause of the issue and take action. However, things in modern society are rarely as cut and dried as they were on the African savanna that was our ancestral home. This means that despite the natural nature of our reaction to a setback, blame is often a mistake – one that can cost you dearly.
It’s useful to remember that the roots of blame lie deep within us. Most, if not all of us, do not make a conscious decision to place blame for any problem on others. Instead, in the heat of the moment, when we are most vulnerable, this unconscious tendency to look for a solution to a problem allows us to point fingers without thinking.
A solution to this problem is not to try and stop the blame game through empty promises. That would be a mistake. It’s genetic roots run too deep within us to withstand a promise. Promising yourself to stop blaming is like promising yourself that you won’t flinch when something comes close to your face. You simply can’t help it. It’s a reaction programmed inside of you because of who you are and where you come from.
A better solution is to accept the blame reaction for what it is – a genetic holdover that may or may not have served its course. Once you accept this fact, you can then more easily recognize the things that trigger your instinct to blame. Also, don’t forget that you can blame yourself as easily as you blame others, and with just as much groundlessness and error.
In some sense, self blame is even more destructive when it comes to achieving your goals, since it produces guilt as a side effect. This guilt can effectively pull you up short. This, in turn, produces more anger, more blame and more guilt. Break the cycle by under standing blame for what it is and moving on.