Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

The Key to Personal Change is Yourself, not Your Circumstances

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Do you ever imagine a better you?

I hope the answer is yes, not because the you of now is someone we don’t like, but because a better you is possible.

I hope that this better you isn’t just one that helps old ladies across the street, although please feel free. I am referring to the you of your dreams.

The you that you see when you let go of all of your present circumstances and let your imagination out of it’s cage so that it can soar as high as the clouds. That you.

The one that knows no limits. The one that believes the impossible.

Maybe a 20 pound lighter you. Or a the recently promoted you. Maybe it’s the “I just got into law school” you or the loving parent who is patient and kind you.

Even better, maybe it’s the you who does a work that you love. Waking up on Monday morning is a delight instead of a chore because you have the privilege of doing an important work that you are good at. The you that makes a difference in the world.

I’m talking about that you.

photo by Camil Tulcan (Creative Commons)

Whatever that better you looks like, it’s not who you are now is it?

Have you tried, only to become frustrated? Have you set new goals, only to see them forgotten?

To understand the reasons you fail, you first have to understand where you place the blame. Do you blame others? Your circumstances?

Or do you blame yourself?

So many view their circumstances as impossible. There are too many difficulties preventing you from becoming the other you.

There may be some truth to the idea that there are formidable external forces that affect the outcome of your efforts.

Many focus on the environment. They move. They quit one job to start another. They switch churches. They find new friends. They end one relationship hoping to find happiness in another. They buy a new car, this time one that is more expensive.

But the only way to ever change is to stop looking at everything around you and start looking at yourself. The goal of blaming you is to change you. And you are the only thing you can change.

It is both an incredibly simple, but challengingly complex idea.

  • Instead of blaming your boss, determine how you can do your current job better.
  • Instead of blaming your spouse or your kids, become more patient and more loving.
  • Instead of blaming the teacher, study more.
  • Instead of blaming your readers, write better copy.
  • Instead of blaming others who don’t acknowledge you, work harder and do better work.
  • Instead of blaming your finances, buy less stuff that doesn’t make you happy anyways.
  • Instead of blaming genetics, blame your decisions.

Accepting the blame in order to change requires humility. It requires accepting responsibility, even when it isn’t completely your fault. It requires the ability to choose how you act instead of merely responding based on how you feel.

As long as you choose to let your environment determine who you are, this better you will remain a dream and nothing more.

The problem isn’t out there. It is inside.

Do you blame others or are you trying to change yourself? Leave a comment.

About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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10 Replies

  1. Lorna Faith

    I like that “stop looking at everything around you and start looking at yourself.” So true. I’m slowly learning to “look in the mirror” when there’s something ‘out there’ that I don’t like. Thanks for the reminder:-) Great Post as usual Jeremy!

  2. Wise advice. I struggle with this every day, but blame is only a quick fix. It allows us to play the victim. But in epic stories, the victim never gets anywhere.

    It’s so easy to read this and agree, but it’s difficult putting it into practical terms, living it out day after day. That’s the only way we’ll ever change. I need to start living this out.

  3. I’ve decided to QUIT playing the blame game. Nothing good EVER comes of it! 

  4. I agree. it’s an issue of every day. Sounds like storyline left an impression on you.

  5. Oh am changing myself,  Jeremy.  (With the help of God and my dear husband – its amazing how they synchronize :) )

    I wasn’t always good at looking inside for change. But I have come to realize that a better purpose-filled life begins on the inside, not on the outside.

    I love your last point – instead of blaming genetics, blame your decisions. That’s a twitter-ble quote right there (gone ahead and tweeted!)

    Thanks for this great reminder.

  6. Oh, don’t worry about me laying blame on circumstances or on others. In my case I tend to blame myself for everything, whether anyone else thinks I could’ve changed it or not.

    I blame myself for not meeting a deadline, reasonable or unreasonable.
    I blame myself for failing to make a goal.
    I blame myself for the supposed “10-year-lifetime” smoke detector batteries failing at 4 am, and I am unable to climb a ladder to fix it.
    I blame myself for our financial situation, even when the only thing I spend each week is lunch money.
    I blame myself for living paycheck-to-paycheck after trying to be gainfully self-employed (at what I thought was God’s direction).
    I blame myself for being unable to make the changes you suggest.
    I blame myself for being a total failure sometimes.

    So how am I doing?

  7. Thanks for sharing Ngina.

  8. Excellent post!

    So true:  we are NOT our circumstances.  We need to rise above whatever is happening and move forward.  Feeling sorry for ourselves really doesn’t help matters, now does it?

    I think it was a line in the movie Bridesmaids that went something like this:  “You know what?  YOU are your problem.  And YOU are your solution.”

    It’s all about choices.  : – )

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