Learning the differences between taking responsibility and blaming was one of the most powerful tools I’ve learned to live a fulfilling life. Now, I’ve been getting lessons on this one since I was a teenager. I think my mom’s favorite lines were, “I can’t make you do anything.” Along with, “I can’t make you feel anything.” She helped me to see (while fighting, dragging, and clawing to hold onto blame) that I have more power than I was giving myself. What took me a lot longer to figure out was the difference between taking responsibility versus self-blaming. I would self-blame relentlessly to the point of suicide attempts.
For someone in the stage of contemplating suicide knowing the difference can mean life or death. For someone who is so full of rage over someone else’s poor choices, it can be what gives them the power to rise above and take care of their own energy, so that they are not dragged down to respond with violence.
We can’t MAKE anyone do anything to serve the highest good, but we can choose to be responsible for what we are doing. Our thoughts, beliefs, actions, and reactions matter, so taking care of those can and will make a difference in how we CHOOSE to live our lives. Being able practice this tool means first understanding the differences between responsibility and blaming.
Here are some of the differences:
- Taking responsibility opens our minds to possibilities of solutions and change. Blaming creates wars both internally and externally while focusing on the problem instead of the solution.
- Taking responsibility takes down defensive walls, while blaming builds them.
- Taking responsibility empowers us to be human while celebrating it and learning from it. Blaming disempowers us.
- Taking responsibility is healthy, which includes healthy self-talk and healthy communications with others. Blaming is unhealthy and can include abusive thinking and/or actions towards ourselves and others.
- Taking responsibility involves aligning with positive energy. Blaming buries us in our own darkness.
- Taking responsibility focuses on what we want. Blaming focuses on what we don’t want.
Taking personal responsibility involves being aware of how our thoughts, feelings, actions, and reactions affect our choices. Once we become aware of our part in any choices that had a negative outcome, we open ourselves up to make better choices in the future. We give others a tool on how to work with us better in the future, even if the future is within minutes away. Taking responsibility takes the toxic weight of blame and shame out of the room.
Blaming is the foundation of toxic problem-solving. When we use the negative energy of blame to come up with solutions, our energy is working against us. Our focus is in the problem, which tends to create more problems. This works the same inside us as it does outside of us. When we hold onto negative energy of someone else’s choices, we are responsible for that energy. We are responsible for feeding the beast.
Taking responsibility doesn’t mean it’s all your fault, it just mean you see where you can do better. There is no self-abuse.
Sometimes we just have to ask ourselves
- What perspectives, thoughts, and beliefs am I holding that are contributing towards and energy I don’t want?
- How can I change what isn’t working?
- What actions can I take to remove myself from unhealthy people making unhealthy choices?
- How do I stand up for what I believe without putting my energy into what I’m against?
- What did I do to confuse this situation? What can I do to fix my part?
- What can I contribute to a positive solution?
- What choice in actions will make me feel better about what happened?
- How do I keep my side of the street clean?
What other people do is there business. You only have to consider the energy flowing through you and what you want that to look like. Nobody else’s poor choices are worth us going down internally with them. Our minds, bodies, outlooks, and beliefs can be empowered or disempowered and the choice is ALWAYS ours.
With Love and Gratitude,
Rachael Wolff ©2020