Difficult things happen to us all. Through no fault of our own we and our loved ones can be hurt by people, lose our jobs, experience relationship break ups and so on. Even innocent children may experience severe trauma at the hands of others.
Blame is a common human response to such adversity. We blame others and sometimes ourselves too. Blame is often accompanied by emotions such as anger, sadness and hopelessness.
There is nothing ‘wrong’ with any of this. I’m not one for avoiding negative emotions. And, I’m not suggesting that people shouldn’t be deemed responsible for their wrong doing (including us). Sometimes, blame is also helpful; a victim of abuse temporarily benefits from blaming the perpetrator in order to release the blame that they’ve often misplaced upon themselves.
The problem comes however, when blame lingers for the long term. It can stay for years, decades or even a lifetime, especially when related to deep trauma. Releasing blame associated with very painful experiences can be tough. However, if we are going to progress and make change in our own life, it is absolutely essential.
Long term blame takes away your power to change
Ask yourself the following questions and answer honestly. Maybe you have a specific blame situation that you can consider when answering, whether it involves blaming yourself or others.
Does long term blame make you feel:
Empowered and in control of your life?
Light, free and unburdened?
Happy, grateful and loved?
Calm, peaceful and content?
Strong, inspired and hopeful about your future?
My answer to all of the above, is no. For me, holding onto blame is a heavy, constricting burden. If I’m blaming someone else, it puts control of my life and happiness out of my hands and into theirs. If I’m blaming myself, it brings me shame which triggers my defences not my growth.
Long term blame is akin to having one foot on a car accelerator and the other on the brake at the same time. Life wants to accelerate, but blame is the brake. I stay stuck, spinning my wheels and going nowhere.
It is only letting go of blame that has inspired progress, healing, growth and change in my own life.
Are you ready to let go of blame?
Our brain doesn’t like change, it likes what is familiar. If we’ve been immersed in blame for a long time it will feel very familiar. Releasing it can therefore be scary and our mind will bring up all sorts of reasons not to let go. We might think that if we stop blaming someone else, we have to take responsibility for what happened. If we stop blaming someone else, we are condoning their behaviour. Perhaps we think that feeling the shame of self-blame is payback for our own errors.
None of this is true. And none of this helps us move forward. We want to render blame redundant altogether. We want to empower ourselves with the ‘response-ability’ to change our lives from here on.
Change must outweigh blame
Our sub-conscious desire to maintain the familiar pattern of long term blame needs to be outweighed by our conscious desire to end it.
We have to create a vision for a brighter, freer and more empowering future which is vastly more compelling than our current life experience where blame still resides.
We have to experience the pain of holding on to blame and forever having our foot on the brake, as being too much to bear. Otherwise, we will simply stay the same.
We have to really, really want change.
Find your own way
Some people may take years to release blame of a seemingly small wrong-doing. Others can release blame of a horrific trauma in a matter of days or weeks. Releasing blame goes hand in hand with forgiveness – of ourselves and others. It is a very personal process, there is no one size fits all.
I encourage you to find your own path to releasing blame and empowering yourself to make change. It’s time to take your foot off the brake.
About the author: To find out more about Pinky Jangra, please click here.