I’m guilty of this, and it doesn’t help me change.
When my life doesn’t turn out how I expected or wanted, I look around for a scapegoat as the cause of my misfortune. Why not? It places the least demand on me to do better.
I remember slipping on a small patch of ice a few years ago. I was retired. Falls “are to be expected” at my age. I fell like a stone—no time for frantic arm waving to gain my balance. I just dropped to my knees, fell forward and barely missed a nose plant!
The scapegoat at that time was responsible for not attending to the ice conditions. And for the bonus round, I used the inevitability of my aging as a contributing factor.
Fortunately, several hours later, after recovering from the embarrassment and shock, I did a re-think.
I was concerned about my future falls. With the thought of a broken hip in my future, I decided that I couldn’t guarantee to be fall-free, but I could decrease the risk. I worked at identifying what I could control and influence. Everything else was just background noise.
I started reading about why the elderly fall. One aspect that rang true was the lack of my arm thrashing. That was a good starting point. Greater core strength, of which I have little, could significantly increase my ability to regain my balance. Squats, 30 in 30 seconds, up from my initial 17 squats in 30 seconds, made a difference. A few times I tripped on something minor, but I was able to rebalance myself – none the worse for wear. On an N=1 basis, I am confident my balance and recovery are better than they have been in a long while.
Around the home, I checked for trip hazards and eliminated as many as possible. I focused on entering only well-lit rooms – flick the switch first. I pause before descending the stairs to square myself and have a hand free to use the railing. I now sit down to put on some clothing items. I’m still learning how to reduce my fall risk.
This awareness only started when I found my scapegoat, and the scapegoat was me. Empowering.
Please give this a bit of a think. Can you recall a situation that you or “a friend” scapegoated, thereby missing the opportunity to change and do better? Did you eventually recover to review your role in doing better? How long after did that happen?
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