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Accepting responsibility for one’s words and actions is an essential part of living a healthy, balanced life.
People are difficult, messy creatures at times. Your friends, family, and loved ones will make mistakes and do insensitive things that require forgiveness and room to grow.
And so will you.
But there is a difference between taking responsibility for your actions and accepting blame that is not yours to accept.
It might feel like the right thing to do because it’s a way to smooth over arguments, but it’s not healthy or fair to the other people involved.
It’s not healthy in that you will end up doing the majority of the emotional labor in the relationship. It’s not fair in that it’s not your responsibility, and it deprives the other person the ability to develop and grow.
Every relationship needs healthy boundaries. And part of having healthy boundaries is the willingness to step up and own your mistakes, as well as not accepting responsibility for the bad behavior of anyone else.
Blaming yourself for everything is a behavior that typically forms in childhood with parents who cannot accept responsibility for their own actions. They may have put an undue amount of responsibility on the shoulders of their children, causing them to believe they were to blame.
Love might have been absent or withheld as punishment when the parent wanted to make their child feel like they were wrong. Abuse, shaming, and unfair criticism may also have been present.
Breaking that cycle of self-blame and criticism is a positive step toward loving oneself and having healthier relationships.
How do you do that? How do you stop blaming yourself for everything?
1. DO take responsibility for the things that you are at fault for.
Do not make the mistake of rejecting the things that you are actually responsible for.
Your actions and your words are yours to determine. It doesn’t matter what other people do or how bad other people act.
It’s unhealthy to use other peoples’ actions as an excuse to do wrong things or avoid taking responsibility for your own choices.
If you’re going to do or say something, then own those actions and words. Be proud of what you’re doing. If it’s not something you can be proud of or okay with, then don’t do it.
This type of approach makes it much easier to accept when you are responsible and when you are not.
You can look at the situation and ask yourself, “Was this my responsibility? What were my actions and role in the event? Did I make a wrong action? Did I say the wrong things?”
2. Defuse your self-criticism with words of love and support.
A person who self-blames tends to be their harshest critic.
It’s that little voice, sometimes loud, that is telling you that of course you’re to blame! You’re not good enough! You always mess things up! You aren’t worthy! What’s wrong with you? Why would you do that!?
That voice needs to be silenced and replaced with kinder thoughts.
You are a flawed human being doing the best you can, just like everyone else. No one is perfect. No one gets everything entirely correct.
The best-laid plans can go awry because of completely unexpected circumstances. Relationships may not work out. Friendships may falter and crumble. Things may not go right at work.
And you know what? All of that is normal. That’s just life. None of it makes you a bad person or requires you to own anything other than your own words and actions.
Sometimes your words and actions aren’t going to be very kind or nice. Maybe you had a bad day, weren’t in a good headspace, and didn’t have as much patience as you would have liked to have. That’s okay.
You’re allowed to be human and less than perfect.
3. Avoid judging and being overly critical of other people.
Self-criticism and self-blame are fed from different angles. When a person thinks harshly of themselves, it’s likely that they also think harshly of or judge other people for the choices they make.
Extending grace and forgiveness to others for their own flawed transgressions can help soften the way you view yourself.
If you can start seeing and accepting the flaws of others, you can learn to see and accept the flaws in yourself.
The judgment of others is a sure way to undermine your own happiness and well-being. The time you spend criticizing or angry about others is time that you lose to improve yourself and your own life.
Ask yourself questions like, “Do I need to have an opinion about this? How does this affect my life? Does this affect my life?”
People who judge others harshly usually feel like other people are judging them the same way. What you will come to realize is that a majority of people are really only concerned with their own life.
4. Look at negative experiences as something to learn from.
The harsh language of self-blame and self-criticism often comes down to amplifying the negative experiences that we all have.
These negative experiences cease to have such a profound and lasting impact if you can reframe them as something neutral or even positive.
A failure is only a failure if you don’t learn anything from it.
But not succeeding hurts! Breakups feel awful! Things not working out is sad and depressing!
All of that can be true too. We love to see a polished story of someone putting their mind to an action and then coming out on top. But the reality is that few people succeed at anything right away. And quite often, their success is propped up by a pile of things they tried and that didn’t work out.
The negative experiences lose a lot of their sting when you know that you’ll take some bit of life wisdom from the experience to build toward the overall success of your life.
5. Seek additional help.
People who practice excessive self-criticism or self-blame often have events in their life that pushed them in that direction.
These are the kinds of things that come with being abused as a child, trauma, and domestic abuse.
That doesn’t mean that these events need to inform and direct your life. What it does mean is that you may need to address these events and work to heal this harm to more easily make the other changes that you’re looking for.
You can heal, change, and grow if you give yourself permission to.
Don’t hesitate to seek professional mental health help if you find that you’re having a hard time working through these things. There is no shame in seeking help for such a difficult problem. You can do so from the comfort of your own home – simply click this link.
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- If You Feel Like A Disappointment To Yourself Or Others, Read This
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