Dr. Pete: ‘Who Do You Blame?’
By Peter Weiss, MD // March 22, 2015
JETTISON THE 'VICTIM MENTALITY,' TAKE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY TO SOLVE YOUR PROBLEMS
I had just tuned in to a report on the terrorist attack in Tunis on NPR two days ago when it was time for the obligatory man-in-the-street interview (or in this case, woman-in-the-street). “Who do you blame?” the interviewer asked the Tunisian woman. It might have even been the very first question she asked.
Her next question was “Should the government have done more [to prevent the attack]? I turned the radio off at that point and finished my commute in silence pondering the depth of our human desire to assign blame.
Of course, in this terrorist attack as in others, there are actual perpetrators (shooters) and victims (people killed or injured), but they are usually obvious.
When she asked, “Who do you blame?” the interviewer wasn’t looking for the names of the shooters, was she? She wasn’t asking, “Who committed this crime?” No, she was tapping into our universal desire to see ourselves as victims, to find fault in others, and to avoid our responsibility to act for ourselves.
Then yesterday I saw this cartoon in my local paper,
and this article in the Wall Street Journal,
which only reinforced my thinking of the day before about how pervasive blame and fault finding are in our society and in our human nature.
We frequently look to blame others for everything wrong in our lives, often when we played a big part in creating our own problems.
As Proverbs (19:3) says, People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the LORD.
Now there will be people in your life that hurt you. You may well be a victim of someone else’s evil, like the people in Tunis. Even so, the question of “Who do I blame?” will not be helpful because it keeps the focus off of the only thing you have control over – yourself.
Blame is a way of avoiding taking action. A more helpful question is “What am I going to do?”
As you know healthcare is in turmoil. The operating environment is very difficult for legacy healthcare providers and systems, and as a country, we’re still getting sicker! We have two national crises, health and healthcare.
Naturally, “who is to blame” is being asked a lot regarding health and healthcare these days. For example, everyone wants to know who we can blame for:
• the obesity epidemic?
• the diabetes epidemic?
• “food deserts” in inner cities?
• unaffordably high prices of healthcare?
• the problem of people who still don’t have insurance?
• the dysfunctional healthcare “system”?
• the lack of insurance coverage for this or that particular service?
“He who blames others has a long way to go on his journey.
He who blames himself is halfway there.
He who blames no one has arrived.”
– Chinese proverb
And a lot of actual blaming is happening as well. You yourself may have some firm ideas about who deserves blame for these problems.
None of this is as helpful as the questions, “What am I going to do about my health?” and, for those of us in leadership positions in the healthcare industry, “What am I going to do at my organization to address these issues?”
Even blaming yourself can prevent positive change. So let go of the blame and start asking, “What am I going to do?” Then do it!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Peter Weiss is a physician, healthcare executive, author, speaker and health coach with a passion for helping others to health and wellness. His book on personal health, More Health, Less Care, has drawn excellent reviews, and his newest book, The Love Fight, was released in November 2014. Formerly CEO of Health First Health Plans, Dr. Weiss currently serves as Senior Vice President at Florida Hospital in Orlando, part of the Adventist Health System. You can find him on the web at www.healthdiscipleship.com