One of the patterns many of us share is our tendency to blame ourselves for our traumatic experiences. Our self-blame causes us to feel deeply ashamed of ourselves, often for things we could not control and that weren’t our fault. We take the blame away from the people and events that traumatized us and put it all on ourselves. We hold onto our mistakes and withhold our forgiveness, causing us even more suffering.
Sometimes we self-blame because we were conditioned early on to always find blame in ourselves. Maybe we were raised by people who blamed themselves, and we learned this pattern from them. Maybe they were abusive and taught us to blame ourselves for the abuse. We internalize this destructive pattern of putting the full weight of blame on our shoulders. We form identities around this blame, constantly seeing ourselves as shameful, as bad people.
Many of us at some point developed an inadequacy complex where we never quite felt good enough. We didn’t feel worthy or deserving of love. We didn’t feel we measured up to the people around us. We may have felt an inherent sense of self-loathing. Self-blame often has a lot to do with this. When we blame ourselves for the worst things that have happened in our lives, we come to believe that we are inadequate.
Self-blame is essentially forgetting the truth of who we are – spiritual beings living with the challenges of human life and making mistakes along the way. Not being able to see our mistakes as inevitable, normal parts of life means we aren’t seeing the truth of human nature. This is what life is – a series of learning experiences. When we are filled with self-blame, we miss out on the opportunities for learning. We block our capacity for growth and expansion because instead of applying our focus to how we can learn and move forward, we are keeping ourselves stuck in patterns of self-blame and self-hate. We are stunting our emotional growth and personal development.
To release self-blame, we have to start seeing ourselves with more understanding, empathy and compassion. When we blame ourselves for things that were never our fault to begin with, we are failing to give ourselves the gift of self-love. Work to tell yourself that it was not your fault that someone or something hurt you. You were innocent, and blaming yourself is depriving yourself of love. When we continually blame ourselves for the things that were our fault, our mistakes and wrongdoings, we hold onto our shame and regret so tightly that we refuse to forgive ourselves. Start to tell yourself a new truth, that you deserve forgiveness. “I understand you. I forgive you. I am here with you.” When we release self-blame, we’re helping ourselves immeasurably in our recovery.
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