Today something odd happened to me that maybe you can relate to? While scrolling through my Facebook news feed, I noticed a photo that stopped me. It was a familiar group of people having a great time. The majority were my Facebook friends, and immediately I felt a pang of jealously.
They were together at a restaurant that I recognized. I had dined there many times before. In the photo they were all smiling and enjoying themselves. They even referred to each other as "buddies." A term of endearment and a play on the words from the company they had all worked for Buddy Media.
What made the photo compelling for me is that I used to work at Buddy Media. But my story ended a bit differently. I got fired from Buddy Media after a bit over a year of employment there.
While I worked at Buddy Media, I had been to that very restaurant. I had reveled with the same team members. I had worked the same long hours, sweat the same sweat and cried the same tears. I had earned my moniker of "buddy."
And then I blew it.
It's tough pill to swallow to turn inward when seeking someone to blame. In the past I've blamed the CEO. I've blamed my boss. I even blamed the economy. But only recently have I been able to look in the mirror and allow place the blame where it belonged. On my own shoulders.
It felt uncomfortable. It made me squirm. My ego would try to wiggle out of it. My natural defenses would shout out - "no, it was them!" I would twist and turn and fight, until I finally ...I admitted it.
I got myself fired from Buddy Media. Nobody else.
And then something crazy happened. The anger and resentment I had placed on every single person (other than myself) dissipated. The neck ache I would get when someone mentioned Buddy Media disappeared. The turning feeling I got in my stomach each time someone mentioned the CEO's name left my body.
I was free.
The easy thing to do it to blame those around us for our situation.
For years I had nightmares about getting fired from Buddy Media. It became so attached to my personal story that I wrote about it in my books, I spoke about it when keynoting events. Heck, I'm still writing about it here, and it's been nearly ten years!
What I didn't realize is that by holding this blame on the people that surrounded my Buddy Media experience I was only hurting myself.
The HR person who escorted me out of the building lived in my nightmares. She was only doing her job. The colleagues who were confused by my cleaning out my desk that day were concerned about me, not mocking me when they asked "spring cleaning, Chris?"
The only thing I accomplished by blaming them was I damaged my own psyche and my own body. I would relive those situations in my mind until I was there again. Sitting in that office on that last day. Feeling that deep humiliation throughout my body.
What's different now is that I no longer feel anger toward the people I worked with. In fact it's the opposite. I have a deep love and connection to them.
If you're in a situation where you feel like a victim. Start by examining your role in the situation. See if you can address weaknesses that have come up. See if you can correct them.
Sometimes the most simple solution to life's problems start with self examination.