When I was in New York recently, I went out dancing with some friends and I tried to do a very "Dance Fever"-ish kind of move. The tightness of my jeans prevented me from getting as low as I could go so I got stuck somewhere in between. Awkward.
I blamed it on the jeans, which is what one does when one’s ass can’t get quite as low as it used to.
My friend, watching the whole escapade, rolled his eyes and said, “You can’t blame that on the jeans!
I immediately realized that was a great metaphor for life.
It’s easy to blame outside forces for where we are (or aren’t) in life. In love. In career. Whether it’s too tight jeans or an agent (or zero agent) or a boyfriend (or lack thereof) or the business.
When we play the blame game, we simply refuse to take responsibility for what actually is holding us back.
Which is essentially . . . you.
People don’t hold us back. We hold ourselves back. There’s no force outside us. That idea suggests someone else is in charge of your happiness. Your creativity. Your self-expression. Your success.
The more we give up our power to external events and experiences, the more we get to remain the victim. We get to be stuck. We receive a pay-off in staying in stasis and not really doing anything to improve our situation.
I get it.
At times it’s easier to blame than to step up and face the fears we project onto others and onto external events. Doing that means we don’t have to examine our own insecurities, our own fearful thinking, our own self-imposed limitations. So we continue to experience more of what our own self-worth demands. And to be honest, our collectively low self-worth doesn’t demand a lot.
So we settle. Or complain. Or get angry. Or blame.
So who would we be without the blame?
Well try it and see for yourself. Even if everything doesn’t come up roses right away, there’s a freedom, a sense of empowerment in finally letting go of all the energy we’ve been expending toward blaming others.
It might feel like a sense of peace. Or resolution. Or lightness. In short, dropping the heaviness that we carry around with us and perhaps realizing, for the first time, that to not blame feels like . . . well . . . the jeans fit just right.
Anthony Meindl is an award-winning writer, director, producer, and Artistic Director of Anthony Meindl's Actor Workshop (AMAW) in Los Angeles, where it was voted the Best Acting Studio in Los Angeles by Backstage in 2011 and 2012 (Best Scene Study and Best Cold Read). AMAW is also located in New York, London, Vancouver, and Australia.
Meindl's first feature film, “Birds of a Feather,” won the Spirit of the Festival Award at the 2012 Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival, and he won Best Director at the Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles. He is a regular contributor to The Daily Love, Backstage, and various spirituality podcasts. He has been featured in ABC News, Daily Variety, LA Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter and the CW KTLA. He is also the author of the new best-selling book, “At Left Brain Turn Right,” which helps artists of all kinds unleash their creative genius within. Check out Meindl's free smartphone app on iTunes. 'Follow Meindl on Twitter @AnthonyMeindl.