We’re encouraged to take personal responsibility to empower ourselves. It does feel good, doesn’t it? I admit it can be scary, but the strength of it feels great. When I’m taking responsibility for my life and there’s a problem, I’m in charge of the solution. It’s my choice. Since I like being in charge, that’s good news to me.
Plus I don’t have to wait for somebody else to change, or for a circumstance to change – none of which I can control. So I vote YES on taking personal responsibility.
But in the process of doing that, self-blame can creep in. Without me even noticing. So what? you might ask. Isn’t that part of taking responsibility? Isn’t that a good thing?
My answer to both questions is a large NO. Because it’s just not constructive to blame yourself. In fact, it can keep you seriously stuck.
- I need to fix myself.
- I need to punish myself in some way.
- I need to regret what I did.
Since I’m not sure how long these things take, or when I’m finished, I could stay here a long time. I keep telling myself, “I should know better. I shouldn’t have done that. If I scold myself enough, maybe it won’t happen again.” Etc.
And while I’m blaming myself, it keeps me in a looking-back position — focused on the past. Also an unhelpful place to hang out. I’m speaking from plenty of personal experience here.
On the other hand, taking responsibility simply requires me to see my part in what’s going on. I can do that honestly AND without self-blame. So first I take a close look.
Then I just ask myself: Do I want to change something? If so, what are some options? What action do I need to take to change things? This keeps me in a looking-forward position – focused on the future. And that draws me ahead in the direction I want to go.
And here’s a bonus: When you let go of the whole self-blame thing, your creativity has some room to breathe. It’s really liberating! You can see so many more possibilities when you’re not bogged down in the heaviness, the negative energy, and thought-spinning of self-blame.
Try setting the blame aside and see what happens. (If that’s tricky for you, EFT can definitely help.) What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and let us know.