Tag: freedom

Coach Yourself Free from Blame & Shame

“Concern yourself more with accepting responsibility than with assigning blame.  Let the possibilities inspire you more than the obstacles discourage you.”    …Ralph Marston


Blame can render you powerless; wreak havoc in relationships, and eat away at your ability to change, to let go, and to get on with life.  So, what makes us fall into the blame trap and how can we free ourselves from it?

By answering these questions, you will better understand blame’s role in your life…Allowing you to eliminate blame from your feelings.

Like any new discovery, raising your awareness of where blame is at play is the first step in ridding yourself of it.  Do you blame your partner or others…do you repeatedly blame yourself when things don’t go exactly as planned?  Are you fearful of making mistakes?  Did your parents routinely use blame to shame you as a way of manipulating your behavior? 

Often the reasons we feel blame are unconscious. Have you gotten into a pattern of blaming everyone for failures, mistakes, or disappointments in life? Blame can become a way to vent anger and frustration; it can help you skirt around the truth, while dumping responsibility away from yourself when the burden feels too heavy.

The good news is you can escape the blame cycle with the following three steps.

Get in touch with your inner feelings and responses. If anger and then blame are your reaction in a relationship or in a challenging situation, take a moment and breathe.  Look at other options – identify your feelings first – (hurt, sadness, disappointment, fear, guilt) and remember most people are muddling through with their own set of challenges.

Make a plan – “Today I am not going to judge or blame others.”  When you establish a new pattern response, a positive one, you are teaching your mind to untangle its thinking from the trap of blaming and shaming.

Begin to love all of yourself, even the imperfect, for it teaches us humility, empathy, and inner beauty.  Author Sonya Parker once said, “Stop comparing yourself to other people, you’re supposed to be unique.”  Learn to love what you consider to be your shortcomings and find ways to navigate through them.

Having compassion for your limitations allows you to see the silver lining in the lesson learned and gives you permission to move on.  Use humor and put your imperfections into a positive perspective.  Trying to be perfect is exhausting and accomplishes nothing more than anxiety over making a mistake, which can lead to a fear of trying anything at all.  As babies we learn to walk by bumbling around like drunken soldiers, so it is in life, stop being afraid to fall.  It is the getting back up that counts.

Take ownership of your life and let blame fall by the wayside.  Often the faults we see in people around us are mirror images of our own.   Rather than harboring anger over your spouse, your parents, your boss, take action, free up your energy with positive affirmations and move onward.  If you feel yourself sliding back into the judging and blaming trap, simply stop and gently remind yourself, “I don’t need to that any longer.”  Celebrate your successes, no matter how large or small they are. If there is something in your life you want to accomplish, rather than brooding over why opportunity has not knocked on your door yet, explore ways to begin the new journey towards what you want.  Go back to school, spend time with people who honor your dreams, read inspirational books, let go of toxic relationships.

As you treat yourself with kindness, and take ownership of your life, blame will disappear.

Finding Our Personal Freedom

 “Perhaps the biggest tragedy of our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns…We may want to love other people without holding back, to feel authentic, to breathe in the beauty around us, to dance and sing. Yet each day we listen to inner voices that keep our life small.” –Tara Brach Radical Acceptance

What life do you want to live? Now that’s a deep question. Although it can be read many different ways yielding many different answers, it’s a question that usually evokes a strong initial reaction and in turn leads you to one of two feelings, anticipation or fear, depending on your current state of being.

When examining what will help us live our best life; it’s first important to identify what you believe is holding you back. What particular habit or characteristic most greatly impedes your chance to experience happiness? Now think about it by breaking it down into its parts— in what way does it negatively affect your life? How does it make you feel? How strongly do you wish to let those negative feelings go?

As we discussed in the first post of the Radical Acceptance series, regarding ‘Embracing Impermanence,’ many of our day-to-day decisions are based on not necessarily what is best for us, but, what is gratifying in the moment. Instead of focusing our attention on striving to truly experience every single sequence of life, we fill ourselves up with life’s empty calories and after the binge we again feel shame and guilt instead of peace and joy.

So what is that elusive path to peace and joy? It’s freedom. From worry, doubt and other negative feelings that affect the way we feel and the way we interact in the world and lead our lives. Freedom is the take away from breaking old habits. It’s the exhilaration of feeling complete contentment in a non-remarkable moment. It is understanding great suffering but still being able to experience great joy. It’s finding pleasure in places that you didn’t even know existed.

Now the big question! How do we begin to let that light of freedom shine within ourselves? You’ll be relieved to know, it’s simpler than you may think— we just have to flip the switch. Great change starts with small, positive steps every day. Look at each day, each experience we encounter, as an opportunity to illuminate our internal path to joy. And it gets even better than that. Positive change doesn’t just affect us internally—it affects every facet of our existence.

Each tinge of bliss, every fleeting ‘warm fuzzy feeling,’ isn’t just felt internally but is actually exuded out into our external lives. The light of positive change that we’re proud of improves our relationships, our mood and even our ability to continue to make decisions that lead us to happiness.

Next time an upcoming decision feels intrinsically negative, try and identify what would make you feel joy. It may not make you not make that decision, but the recognition that there is an alternative is so powerful and builds over time. Beginning to mentally process how to live a better life is huge progress— and as we become mindful of the practice—we’ll experience more peace and less pain. We become more tranquil and content; we may dance, sing or simply smile more. We become the people that others want to be around, and most importantly, the person that we so deeply wish to be for ourselves.  

From the Buddha’s Dhammapada

(Freely translated by Stephen Mitchell.)

Mind creates the world;
what you see arises with your thoughts.
If you speak and act with a confused mind,
trouble will follow you as certainly
as a cart follows the ox that pulls it.

Mind creates the world;
what you see arises with your thoughts.
If you speak and act with a clear mind,
happiness will follow you as certainly
as your own shadow in sunlight.

“It’s his fault.” “She shouldn’t have done that.”
Believe such thoughts, and you live in resentment.

“It’s his fault.” “She shouldn’t have done that.”
Question such thoughts, and you live in freedom.

Anger teaches anger.
Fear results in more fear.
Only understanding can lead to peace.
This is the ancient law.