BLAME is an interesting tool that works two ways. It is the proverbial double-edged sword.
On one end it can be pointed towards others to shift responsibility away from yourself.
The other end can be turned on yourself to take responsibility for things that aren’t your fault.
I suppose that’s why its closely related to one of the “Unhelpful Thinking Styles” in CBT called Personalization – An event happens that you view as your fault or another person’s fault when really it was no one’s. The reality is that someone does not always have to be at fault. There does not always have to be someone to blame.
Do you need to release yourself or anyone else from blame and shame about things that have passed and cannot be changed? Is it time to forgive the past and accept the present?
Repeat this thought every once in awhile to start releasing yourself and others from blame and shame that is causing you pain:
“I FORGIVE YOU. I FORGIVE ME.”
Nobody is perfect. This isn’t news. Yet, when we make mistakes, we hold ourselves to the most ridiculous standards of perfection. As if you’re never supposed to feel awkward, or have an embarrassing moment, or mess up really really badly sometimes. If people could hear the way you talk to yourself in your head, I bet they would say “WHOA! Take it easy – that’s kind of abusive.” The inner-dialogue of some individuals is nothing short of verbally and emotionally abusive. Self-abusive. It’s easy to spot when someone else is doing it, but is it as noticeable when you’re doing it to yourself?
Learn to stay friends with yourself even when you make a mistake. There are so many people in your life that already do a great job at making you feel like a jerk. They don’t need your help. Why join the opposing team (the naysayers, haters, and negative-nancys) who love seeing you down? Somebody has to stay in your corner, and who better than you!? You know yourself better than anyone. You know what you’ve been through. You don’t take your experiences out of context because you know the WHOLE story from front to end. That in and of itself is enough to garner your own respect because through it all YOU ARE STILL STANDING! Maybe a little dusty from a few rolls in the dirt but STANDING NO LESS!
Make sure your inner-dialogue sounds something like the way you’d talk to a child you love. You’d want that little kid to know that we all make mistakes sometimes and that things can go better the next time. It would break your heart to see them give up and check out from embarrassment. Wouldn’t you step in and let them know they are more than this slip-up? Encourage yourself in the same way. Tell yourself to brush your shoulders off and get back to being amazing.
Give yourself permission to be human. Practice telling yourself “I’m okay.” Cool little snippets like, “This too shall pass” work wonders when you’re having to “Push through” difficult moments. Take yourself seriously enough, but not too seriously. I mean, how boring would it be if we didn’t have something silly to look back on and laugh at sometimes? Be willing to be silly, to look silly, and to shake your head at it and be on your way.
We’re so good at putting pressure on ourselves. How good are we at taking some off? Maybe as a mini-practice we could go through the rest of this week noticing our little faux-pas (which are kind of inevitable), and instead of getting in a tizzy about it, we remind ourselves of how awesome it is to be human.