90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 17 – Seeing the Truth Behind the Blame

Letters From A Better Me

90-Day A Better Me Letters Series

Part I: A Journey of Awareness

What Holds Us Back: The Unstable Foundation

Day 17: Seeing the Truth Behind the Blame

Dear Self,

I’ve been avoiding the truth by focusing on the blame. I’ve used blame as the excuse not to live better. I’ve used blame as the excuse for not doing better for myself and/or others. I’m responsible for not taking the actions I needed to take in order to improve my life.  I’m ready to see the truth behind the blame now.

I’m ready to become aware of how I REALLY feel about myself. I’m ready to challenge my thinking anytime I see it moving in blame’s direction. I’m ready to take full responsibility for my thoughts, feelings, actions, and reactions. NOBODY and NOTHING can make me feel like I’m unworthy, less than, or a victim. I am the only one who can make me feel that way. I’m choosing to live better today than I did yesterday, not because my circumstances have changed, but because my mind has.

I know I have the power to change my life now! I’m done giving my power away to people, places, and things. The energy I put out is what I will get back 100% of the time. I’m accountable for what I put out there. I will not let blame conceal the truth today. It is what I do today that matters.

I know this process to transform my thinking will take time. My commitment is not to blame myself on days I fail to stay out of the negative energy, but to learn from those day. Just the awareness of this concept makes me a better me. I commit to the work that will keep me on this path.

With Love and Gratitude,

A Better Me

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Please read today’s companion piece: 90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 17 – Blame Conceals the Truth. This is one of the most important concepts to understand in order to get out of our own way.

Are you following along with the series yet? Keep reading!

90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 17 – Blame Conceals the Truth

90-Day A Better Me Series

Part I: A Journey of Awareness

What Holds Us Back: The Unstable Foundation

 

Day 17: Blame Conceals the Truth

“When you blame and criticize others, you are avoiding some truth about yourself.”

-Deepak Chopra

Blame conceals the truth in a multitude of ways. It’s not even as simple as not blaming others or ourselves. It goes even deeper. Our blaming of things, circumstances, and concepts, give us the same negative outcomes. Blame conceals our power to change our insides to even have a chance to change what is happening outside of us. We actually can hinder other people from getting the help they need by encouraging and supporting the blame cycle. We stay trapped and held hostage by the negative energy that we engage in. This path is dark and ominous, because we are stuck in an endless tunnel. We don’t see that our light to see the end of the tunnel comes from inside of us. We keep looking outside of ourselves and finding there is only dark, because the truth is darkness is what we are projecting out.

One of the most dangerous parts about what blame conceals is what happens to victims of trauma who get stuck focusing on the traumatic event that happened to them. This is not about P.T.S.D. This is about the deeper seed that is planted that keeps this person the victim of the person or event sometimes for their entire lives. We think we are doing victims a favor by helping them keep their finger pointed out, but energy of blame is consuming. A victim can build their entire life around being a victim because that is where their focus is. This attracts more trauma and heartbreak to the person’s life. Sometimes, it will be the rope that hangs them. Too many people have died from the everyday pressures of living in a world where they STAY a victim to the point where they become the victim of themselves. The victim punishes her/himself over and over. The trauma could have been twenty years ago or more, and if we stay focused on the blame, we will re-live it continually.

Think about the Law of Attraction that we talked about earlier in the series, can you imagine the pain and suffering this attracts? Blame takes away our power to change our lives for the better. The resentment of blame keeps us operating on a low frequency, so that is what we attract more of. Many victims will blame themselves for something or other and will take on feelings of shame. I’m sure everyone is also aware that there is plenty of victim shaming out there too. Together the shame/blame cycle can reach devastating measures.

Think of the straw exercise from yesterday (click here for link). A victim who can’t move on from the blame in order to get their own personal power back is literally stuck in that sphere of fear. No matter what they do to get out, if they stay blaming, they will never see outside of that sphere of reality. Many victims have tremendous fear over letting go of the trauma. Just like a job or any position in life, we can make it a part of our identity (dangerous in itself), a victim can think by reaching a level where they don’t blame and possibly even forgive that it means they are excusing the behavior of the other person or even event from taking responsibility for all the pain they/it caused. That is not true at all. By staying in the blame, we are taking responsibility for something we have absolutely no control over. We don’t let go for someone/something else; we let go to free ourselves of the burdens that aren’t ours to hold on to.

“When you think EVERYTHING is someone else’s fault, you will suffer a lot.”

-Dalai Lama

Another way blame conceals the truth and keeps us hostage is when we blame things like addiction, alcohol, drugs, gambling, food, weapons, cancer, pain, weather, men (as a concept), women (as a concept), teens (as a concept), traffic, store hours, fear, etc. I think you get the point. We are still dealing with that same negative energy over things we have no control over. So the blame only creates more problems.

I uncovered an amazing lesson about blame, when I caught myself blaming someone else’s addiction to drugs and alcohol. For years, I blamed the addiction for this person’s behavior. I didn’t realize I was still investing in a negative energy by doing this. After the relationship with the person ended, I intentionally set out to make sure that the next person I was with didn’t drink or do drugs. That was my only requirement. Not realizing what I was doing, I put my full focus on what I “didn’t” want. HORRIBLE CONSEQUENCES! The next man I dated didn’t drink or do drugs. He had quit, but I got to see by blaming the addiction, I wasn’t taking personal responsibility for my part. When sick behaviors on both sides of the relationship started to present themselves, I got faced with an emotional 2×4 that hit me right where it hurts and saw that I was in fact the problem for attracting the unhealthy relationships in my life. Blaming addiction was my way of avoiding dealing with the real problems: my self-concept, self-respect, self-love, and lack of any self-worth. Blaming something and someone else kept me from seeing that I was co-dependent on these unhealthy relationships. I derived my self-worth from feeling important to someone else, and when I didn’t I crashed. This is just one piece of the vicious cycle of having no self-worth. I had to stop blaming before I could start diving into fixing what needed to be fixed— ME!

We don’t have to be trapped in ANY negative and/or unhealthy way of living if we CHOOSE not to be. That is another truth that blame conceals. For everything I named above there are people who make themselves victims by blaming these things or champions/heroes by seeing these things as opportunities to grow from. We live in an age where to see either side all we have to do is type keywords into our computers, tablets, or phones. We can see inspiring or devastating stories how people have made their perception of truth work for or against them.

When we blame others/situations/events we are in engaging in fear-based living. We are saying this is on you. The truth is we have a personal responsibility for every thought, feeling, action, and reaction we have. When we blame we are concealing the truth about how we are letting the person or event have power over our lives. Many times we keep re-living situations over and over having pretend conversations of all the things we could say or do if we were given the chance. I know I’ve had full on conversations in the mirror telling people off for doing what they did to me. The only person that hurts is the person looking back at us in the mirror. Blaming keeps us from fixing the one person we are responsible for fixing—OURSELVES!

We can’t control what other people do to us or what they do to each other. We can’t control our families, friends, partners, co-workers, governments, and strangers. We can’t control traffic, accidents, store hours, delivery services, disease, etc. We can manage what goes on inside of us. We can control where we want to focus our energy. We can choose to take our lives back from all the people/events that WE have been GIVING our power to. Nobody/thing can make us do that. Nobody/thing can control what or how to feel. That is our decision, but if we choose the path of blame, it tells us we have no choice. Examples of self-defeating statements that come from blame:

  • (Fill in the blank) happened to me, so of course I’m going to drink my problems away.
  • (Fill in the blank) happened to my family, so of course I’m the victim of the government.
  • (Fill in the blank) happened, so there is no way I can live a happy life.
  • (Fill in the blank) happened, which is why I addicted to pills and miserable.
  • (Fill in the blank) happened, so I can’t control my eating.
  • (Fill in the blank) happened, so I can’t look at myself in the mirror.

I’m drawn to survivor stories from traumatic events. I’ve read a couple books on the Holocaust, and what I saw in them was the people who survived and thrived after the horrible circumstances found meaning in the madness. They didn’t finish their lives as victims. They finished as champions of hope, mentors, and heroes. This isn’t about how the world saw them, it’s about what they perpetuated out from the inside. They surpassed the state of victim internally. They actually found their inner purpose during their darkest times. That is what kept their light inside ignited to walk out of the tunnel. That is what attracts millions of people to read their stories.

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Viktor Frankl is the the Holocaust survivor who wrote the book  MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING. Elie Wiesel wrote the book NIGHT

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Blame is one of those sharp rocks in our foundation that like to poke people as they try to get too close to the truth. When we don’t like ourselves we are more likely to blame others for our feelings and actions. During my teenage years was when my mom first said to me, “I can’t make you feel anything.” I thought of course she can, and so can everyone else. They can make me sad, mad, and happy. I had no idea that by making other’s responsible for my thoughts, feelings, actions and/or reactions I was giving my power away. The one part of my life that I am 100% responsible for taking care of is within me. Just because I was introduced to this concept when I was thirteen doesn’t mean I was ready to embrace it. It did what it was supposed to do; a healthy seed was planted amongst the toxic muck.

Just for Today

Be aware of how you are living in each moment. What happens to your thoughts when you are stuck in traffic? What happens to your thoughts if you are blaming your pain for your misery? What happens to you if you are blaming your partner for not living up to your expectations of him/her? What happens to you when you are blaming your kids for not doing what they were told? Keep investigating where your mind goes and figuring out what truth that the blame is concealing.  What perception of truth is making you suffer?

Read today’s  90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 17 – Seeing the Truth Behind the Blame (click on the Series to take you to the link) to help you open your mind to seeing opportunities from releasing the blame.

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

 

 

For those of you ready to take the next step and do the everyday work it takes to get out of these self-defeating patterns, click the link below!

35-DAY A BETTER ME BOOT CAMP

 

90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 13 – Becoming Aware of How Blaming Affects My Life

Letters From A Better Me

90-Day A Better Me Letters Series

Part I: A Journey of Awareness

What Holds Us Back: The Unstable Foundation

Day 13: Becoming Aware of How Blaming Affects My Life

Dear Blame,

I’m ready to stay in awareness of how you affect my life. I’m open to see the dark energy I engage in when I’m choosing to let you occupy my thoughts. You don’t allow me to see the healthiest solutions for everyone involved. You keep me in the problem time and time again. I don’t like what that does to me anymore. I see how my thoughts of you create physical reactions in my body.  I can now see where I hold my breath and deplete myself of oxygen flow as I fuel perspectives of truth that cause me harm.

I want my inner world to reflect peace and I keep myself from experiencing that by engaging in the war that you create inside of me and outside of me. Now that I’m aware of your affects on my life, I realize that it doesn’t feel good to use you to keep me separated from the life I really want with the people I love and want to serve.

Thank you for showing me how I can better take care of myself physically and mentally by not keeping the blame cycle alive within me. Thank you for helping me see the beliefs that have kept me believing that it was my responsibility to place blame. Thank you for showing me the darkness so I know how to spot the light.

With Love and Gratitude,

A Better Me

Rachael Wolff © 2019

Today’s companion piece: 90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 13 – The Sharp Edges of Blame. The 90-A Better Me Series is there to help you see and fix any parts of your foundation that are keeping you from living the internal life you want to be living.

Enjoy the journey and thank you for reading!

90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 13 – The Sharp Edges of Blame

Part I: A Journey of Awareness

What Holds Us Back: The Unstable Foundation

Day 13: The Sharp Edges of Blame

“Discontent, blaming, complaining, self-pity cannot serve as a foundation for a good future, no matter how much effort you make.”

-Eckhart Tolle

The sharp edges of blame are ready to cut at any time. No good solution comes from the negative energy of blame. When we are stuck in blame we are stuck in the problem. Even if the party we consider guilty tries to fix things we are ready to criticize that too. We choose not to work with them to come up with solutions or if we do there is an underlying resentment about it. How does this help find better solutions that are in the best interest of all parties involved? It keeps us separated.

Us against them starts wars. It doesn’t create peace, compassion, and understanding. Even if we carry an us against them mentality in our heads we are ready for war at any time. This could be a war with ourselves, partners, family, friends, and/or perfect strangers. We are just ready for the fight, and we brought something that will hurt.

We are responsible for the rewards and consequences of our actions. Everyone makes mistakes, but if we stay in the energy of blame it creates more problems, not less. If people chosen to commit a crime or they have violated us in some sort of way, they are responsible for the consequence of their choices and actions. I choose to believe in the Law of Karma, which says whatever you put out, you get back. This makes it possible for me not to attach to their negative energy by continually focusing on what they did. It gives me permission to learn and grow from the experience and it helps me find solutions to how I can help myself recover from the effects of that action so that I don’t take that energy out on someone else. Having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D.), I know I can carry the darkness of that energy deep inside me and can get triggered by a random act that reminds me of the events gave me the P.S.T.D. in the first place. It is important for my health and well-being to deal and face each part of me that is still attached to that event.

I could easily stay in the blaming energy every time I have an episode, which keeps me stuck there. If I’m stuck there, I carry that blame around like a sharp blade ready to cut anybody who crosses me. I’m ready and waiting for the next time someone tries to make me a victim. I’ve been there and done that. It doesn’t feel good and it definitely didn’t do anything to help me attract the life I wanted to be living. I actually kept attracting people and situations that gave me more to point my finger at. My health also reflected the choice I made to stay in that energy. I had all kinds of internal issues going on.

Since taking on the different approach, which didn’t happen overnight, the episodes of P.T.S.D. happened less and less. They’re not as intense as they used to be, and they pass SO much faster. I’m more in control now. When an episode does happen, I’m able to learn from the experience. Healthy people and situations keep coming up in my life to help me work through whatever piece of myself I’m working on. The energy I’m putting out isn’t separating me from people, so it makes it possible for solutions to present themselves. Karma is great when what we are putting out is loving, empathetic, and compassionate energy. If you question that, tomorrow’s reading might help you dig into that a little deeper.

Be aware of where you are pointing fingers? How does that us against them or me against you energy feel in your body? If it doesn’t FEEL good, it’s not healthy for your body to be stuck in that energy. That energy is what tears foundations apart. The sharp edges make it impossible to be stable. People feel that energy coming off us whether they know it or not and we walk on eggshells trying not to get cut by it, or we keep our distance in full awareness that it’s an energy that we don’t want to be around.

Since most of my readers come from Facebook, I will give an example of how we can test where we are in our heads when it comes to the blame cycle. As we scroll down Facebook and we see posts blaming one thing or another, how does it make you feel? If it is igniting a belief in you, does it fire you up with energy that makes you angry and ready to attack? If you are against what they are talking about, does it fire you up with energy that makes you angry and ready to get on the defense? WAR, WAR, WAR! Our need to be right and make others wrong is a call for war, which can be internal or external. Even if we don’t speak a harsh word, our internal war will take a toll on our nervous system, digestive tracts, brain function, oxygen flow, just to name a few. When we are in war mode, we actually hold our breaths. We disturb the flow of our bodies by attaching to someone else’s perceived truth in a negative way.

I’m NOT innocent of letting this happen to me. I have to remember to take deep breaths, exhale all the way, and sometimes that will be all I need. If the me vs. them goes deeper, I might physically have to release the energy from my body. When I’m in a healthier place, I write it out in a letter and I burn it. I say a prayer to help me release the energy that is holding me captive to this energy. Some people will yell and hit punching bags, pillows, or use other ways to release the violent energy we feel in the body. Even jumping on trampolines can be a physical release.  When I’m not feeling as healthy, my thoughts, beliefs, and feelings about the person or idea will come out to a trusted friend. Then, I process it out loud. Most times seeing where I have let myself attach to negative energy. Walking in nature really helps me to release deeper triggers. When I’m clear, I start hearing the messages that restore my body’s flow. I do my best to remember to write those down, so I remember how to move myself out of the energy in the most efficient way possible the next time I feel a negative emotional trigger come up.

We have to take responsibility for the foundations that we are building our houses (lives) on. If we don’t want to live on unstable ground, we have to do the work to fix the foundation to make it a stable place to build on. Tomorrow, we will dig deeper into self-blame, because it is very easy to shift from not blaming others to blaming ourselves. We don’t get away from the negative energy by doing this, we only take it to a more self destructive level.

Just for Today

Test where you are with the blame cycle. Just observe, don’t judge it or try to change it. Just watch it. If we try to change it before we are ready, we won’t get to see it clearly first. We want to see it in all it’s depths. This will help you not to have to repeat the lessons that it is there to teach us about our choices. Try to stay as present as you can with how the blaming is making you feel. Even try to pinpoint what part of your body you feel it in. The more aware we can be in how we react to what we hear, see, feel, and experience will give us openings to see what beliefs are keeping us from living the life we really want.

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

 

If you are ready to dive into the work to create the life you want to be living, scroll down and enter your e-mail to follow this 90-Day A Better Me Series.

 

Don’t forget read today’s companion series 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series letter of the day. 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 13 – Becoming Aware of How Blaming Affects My Life

 

Enjoy the journey and thank you for reading From A Loving Place!

90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 10 – Living in Our Shame

Part I: A Journey of Awareness

What Holds Us Back: The Unstable Foundation

Day 10: Living In Our Shame

“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”

-Brené Brown

Yesterday, I opened up the thought of our reality being the reflection of what is going on inside of us. Today, we are going to go into that list that I gave yesterday. Each bold title is an item from that list.  I want you to see deeper into my perspective of thought and see if it rings true for you in your life. If it doesn’t, the added bonus is it may help you understand someone else’s behavior and thought patterns a little bit better. This is not a full list by any means, but it is enough to open our eyes and spot where and how we get caught up living in a shame cycle. The items below are some of the ways we live our shame:

If you don’t like your life

Shame tells us we don’t deserve a better life. We stay in unhealthy behavior and thought patterns to keep us prisoner of our unwanted lives. If anything goes beyond a level of happiness that we think we deserve, we unconsciously keep ourselves from getting and or keeping it. Our secret shame tells us we are unworthy of maintaining joy and happiness. We pick and choose belief systems to follow that fuel this thought. We use avoidance tools in order to not take any responsibility for what is going on inside of us. We keep projecting our shame (tomorrow’s topic), and expecting to get love and joy back in return, but then once again proving our belief system is right and our life sucks.

If you attack and gossip about others

When we fundamentally like and respect ourselves, we don’t feel the need to attack others for their imperfections. When shame isn’t living inside of us, we can see others as well as ourselves as humans. We aren’t going to do things perfectly all the time and we don’t need to measure ourselves up against others mistakes.

I used to read tabloid/gossip magazines and compare myself endlessly to the people that were being gossiped about. It didn’t matter if it was me thinking I was better off or worse off than the person. I let the attack and gossip feed into how I saw myself and others. I lived attacking and gossiping about others to feel better or worse about myself. That is letting shame take the wheel.

People will do this in relationships anytime they make personal attacks to hurt someone and make them feel small. We are trying to get the other person to feel as small as we do in the moment. We only do that if we are beating ourselves up inside. That is about us, not them.

If you think the world is against you

Why would the world be against you if you knew without a doubt that you were a good person? Things happen in our lives: trauma, tragedy, abandonment, natural disasters, illness, divorce, death, accidents, and many more. In the moment of the event we were victims. How we choose to live after that is determined on how we perceive the events. Will they be what tears us down and creates the thought process saying, the world is against me. Or, we learn to see what came from those tragedies and traumas and use it as momentum to build from. If we think the world is against us, we are living from a place of shame that says, I must not have done enough to have the world (The Creator, he/she) to like me. Something will happen and we say, SEE the world hates me. We miss the opportunity to learn from what happens to us and the events turn into messages of self-defeat. Shame loves us to be there.

If you attract abusive friends and partners (and keep them in your lives)

Something in the situations feels familiar. It could be from our childhoods. If we confuse love and fear like I wrote about in week 1 of this series, we may have formed the belief that abuse is apart of love. We excuse them from treating us poorly because we are a lot worse to ourselves than they are to us. The level of self-abuse and abuse from others has to match up or we wouldn’t stay in the situation. We made it ok for them to do because we were doing it to ourselves too. Hence, shame has wiggled into our life saying, see you deserve this. NO, you don’t!

We can tell a person a million times that they deserve better, but until the person on the receiving end of the abuse believes it at the core of their being, and stop abusing themselves in the process, they will stay in this devastating cycle. As an outsider it may be brutal to watch, but speaking from experience of being the person abused, when people would insist that I HAD to leave or tell me I was stupid for staying, it only made the shame cycle stronger. I felt trapped. I didn’t feel like I had a choice. That is what shame does. It blinds us to seeing choices and other perspectives.

When we start liking ourselves, the grip loosens and all the sudden, people, places, programs, and opportunities start showing up in our lives to help us find away out of the abuse in the safest way possible. If a person tries to go before they are genuinely ready, it can make matters worse. If the situation is life-threatening there is a level of support that is needed, but the person being abused has to be ready to commit to the process to protect themselves. Shame will does it’s best to keep the victim of abuse where they are. The abuse cycle is apart of the shame cycle for the abuser and the abused. The abuser is trying to make someone feel as small as they do. Only someone full of shame tries to make someone else feel small.

If you self-abuse

Self-abuse can be seen as calling ourselves awful names, self-mutilations (not to be confused with self-expression), demeaning self-talk, and putting ourselves in harm’s way. If there is self-abuse and we are telling ourselves we are unlovable and unworthy, we project that all over our lives. This is where we lose our identity in titles. We put our worth in the titles that we are, aren’t, and can be. We judge ourselves against which titles we’re not and/or which ones we are not living up to.

All forms of shame like telling us we’re not enough exactly how we are. We measure ourselves according to titles that others defined or that we convinced ourselves because of our comparisons and judgment to/of others. In order keep the shame cycle alive, we have to believe the perceptions of truth that we are being fed. We are in a vicious cycle of condemnation and I’m not enough. On day 8, I wrote about childhood traumas. They play out in our adult lives if we choose to live according to the beliefs that keep the shame alive.

Self-abuse is an open door to see our shame. If you look in the mirror and stay there, the truth about what you think of the person looking back at you will come out. Shame tells us we don’t have a choice in how we feel about ourselves because we are bad, bad, bad. If we liked ourselves we would be selfish and self-centered. The truth is the more we loath ourselves, the more selfish and self-centered we are. Not because we intend to be, but because we are caught up in the non-stop messages in our heads saying what to do and how to do it to get people to like us.

When shame has us we don’t do things for good reasons, we are doing things to seek value and importance. Someone with a healthy sense of worth, who loves and respects themselves will appreciate the validation, the accolades, and respect. They don’t need it to feel good about themselves. They know their worth and understand they deserve to feel good about what they do for themselves and others. They don’t force that feeling on someone else and say, you need to respect me! Healthy individuals have an energy field of respect and those of us who respect ourselves too can see it and appreciate it. We don’t feel less or more than another human being. We only do that when shame and fear have us in their grips.

If you engage in addictions

Addiction feed on us feeling badly about ourselves. We don’t want to look at ourselves so we escape into the world of addiction.  We live our shame by constantly running from it. If we stop feeding our addiction we may fear being consumed by the shame. We mistakenly think that the shame is apart of who we are, when really the shame is just a perspective of thought we have chosen to believe in unconsciously.

Then we use our addictions to keep the story of our shame alive. It’s one of the most vicious cycles to break.  When we are using chemicals like pills, alcohol, and other drugs we are actually changing our brain function. We not only have to face and work through the behavioral patterns of stopping the engagement with the addiction, but we have to work on tools to help to re-wire and re-frame how are brains are functioning on multiple levels.

If we choose to just stop engaging in the addiction, but continue to feed the shame cycle, we will stay stuck and trapped in our own behavior patterns that keep up believing the world sucks. In the world of recovery, they call this process being a dry drunk. It is the reason that success in the program depends on participants working the steps of the program. Recovering is not about just not picking up, whatever your addiction is, it’s about changing the thinking that got you picking up that substance in the first place. No matter what the addiction is, even if it is the addiction of rescuing people who don’t want to be rescued, you will live in the sickness until you face the shame that keeps you prisoner to your thought and behavioral patterns.

If you feel the need to numb yourself

We can do this with and/or without addictions. We are just trying to avoid looking too deep at ourselves from fear of what we will see looking back at us. We can actually use a tool called blame to help us numb and avoid the attention from being on us. I will start bring blame into the picture on Day 13 of this 90-Day A Better Me Series. We will also use things like casual relationships, TV, video games, reading, amongst others. It doesn’t mean if we are engaging in these activities that we are numbing ourselves.

The truth is in our intentions behind anything we do. We can do things for ourselves that look positive to the outside world, but inside the intentions tell a very different story. So, it’s not about the what as much as it is about the WHY.  Just remember that the question of WHY is how we have come as far as we have in the Universal sphere of things. We can’t be afraid to ask ourselves why. When we are, we turn over the power to things like fear, shame, blame, judgment, and hate. We allow darkness in when we are scared to go beyond our own light.  We get lost in the numbness of everyday life. We might feel like a cog in the wheel, or like we are just getting by on survival mode. We can only change the numbing cycle of living when we see the value in not living that way.

If you self-sabotage

I used to be the MASTER of self-sabotage! Oh boy could I ever turn something good into a disaster; to the point where I would physically hurt myself at least once a day. That is some serious power. I remember sitting in church, and being stopped in my tracks when the pastor said, “We will only allow ourselves to be as happy as we think we deserve.” He went on to say, that if we go beyond the point where we feel we deserve, we will sabotage that level of happiness from coming into our lives. I wish I could remember the name of this inspirational pastor, but fortunately his message lives on. He’s not the first to say this as I’ve read books over the years that have said the same things with a different twist, but it is the one that finally go through to the deepest levels of how I was living my life, to the point I could take it into my studies of psychology and the way I choose to live my life daily.

When shame has us we can sabotage anything in our lives like we are the champions of the world in that category. Hey, we want to show we are unlovable, let’s go for a person who is incapable of committing and/or showing us love. We’re not lovable so let’s take on more than we can handle at work to prove we are a disappointment. We aren’t worthy of recognition and/or respect; so let me prove it by continuously doing for others what they can do for themselves. WAIT, I want to be important to this person so let me lend them money that I can’t afford to lose. SELF-SABOTAGE, SELF-SABOTAGE, SELF-SABOTAGE! We put ourselves in position after position to get hurt. That is the power of living according to the messages of shame.

If you are a doormat in your life

I touched on this a little up above in the section about self-sabotage. If we are categorizing ourselves as a doormat, we often will blame others for this position, which I will cover more next week in the section on blame. We create our own titles to live by. Saying we are a doormat means we have laid ourselves down in front of someone one’s feet for them to walk on.

Someone who has self-respect and knows his or her own personal value doesn’t do that. A healthy life means we have healthy boundaries and self-care is essential. When we are trying to prove our worth by being someone’s doormat, we aren’t caring for ourselves and we are blaming them for it. The truth is we laid ourselves down, they just did what was natural when someone gives us something to wipe our feet on. How we treat ourselves is how the world will treat us.

There are a couple of sayings that encourage people to be doormats and then expect someone not walk on them. “Treat others as you want to be treated.” That sounds great, but that puts an expectation on someone else’s behavior, which we can’t control. We need to treat OURSELVES like we want to be treated. Guess what even if nobody besides you is treating you with love and respect, YOU ARE! Living the life as a doormat is a choice WE make for ourselves. No one else is responsible for that choice, and no one can change it but that person in the mirror.

Now, if you try to instantly change that doormat position without going inside and working on the shame that got you there. People see right through that and you will go right back to lying down in front of them. Heal the shame first, and people feel the energy of the change and they shift too, whether it’s towards you or away from you. I’ll talk about that in the weeks to come.

If you feel like you are being used by others

Shame tells us to take things personally. When I was a teenager, my mom said, “It’s none of your business what other people think of you.” It took me at least a decade to start understanding how true that statement was/is. I kept running away from situations where I felt used only to find myself in another one. I was living in my shame, so even though I changed states, careers, and boyfriends, I didn’t change me. I was used because I allowed myself to be put in the position to be used. I didn’t have healthy boundaries that spotted the red flags, then had the respect to walk away. I would see the red flags, but I wanted that person to like me. I was desperate for attention and affection.

When we are reaching, begging, and pleading for someone to love us and we feel like we are missing something because we don’t feel like we have the person we want, we are seeking to fill a hole that only one person is capable of filling. If anyone is thinking soul mate, STOP! The only person we are missing love from if we are desperately seeking it from the outside world is ourselves. The answer to any lack in our lives is in the mirror 100% of the time.

So if people are using us, we are living our shame. Our perceptions are very skewed when we are living here. Even if someone is not using us, they are simply accepting what we offer, like a healthy person would, we can perceive that as being used by them. If someone is acting from a healthy place, she/he doesn’t offer what he or she doesn’t genuinely want to give, and there is not expectation of receiving something in return. When we are healthy, we don’t give to people who take advantage, and if we do, we are completely AWARE of our actions so we don’t expect anything from them. We don’t create misery in our own lives because of things we choose to do.

If you give so much that you don’t take care of yourself

This one screams hidden shame at a very deep level. This is where we often find the messages that self-care is selfish. God, won’t love me if I’m self-centered. I’m supposed to give and not think about myself. Those are very painful perceptions to live by. If we don’t feel we have equal value to any other human and don’t deserve to treat ourselves the way we treat others, we have turned over our oxygen mask before putting on ourselves first.

We run ourselves ragged giving ourselves away. Some of us will go as far as to blame our spiritual practices, roles as a parent or spouse, and/or position in a company. Other people can’t make us give ourselves away (Obviously, I’m not talking about anything to do with a crime where it is a life or death situation and we are acting in pure survival mode). When it comes to our perceptions of how we are living our everyday lives, it is easy to shift blame and point fingers to justify why we do something. Underneath any finger pointing out, we are just avoiding looking in, because if we look inside we see that the only person responsible for making healthy choices is the person we live with every day from the cradle to the grave.

Shame is the scariest perception of truth we have to face. We have hid behind so much to avoid looking at and asking ourselves how we really feel about ourselves. If we don’t take the time to give ourselves some nurturing care, time to refuel, centering breaths, and general TLC, we are saying we don’t hold the value to give ourselves that time. If we say, there’s not enough time to take care of me, we have given ourselves away as if our own lives didn’t have the same value as everything else we give to. When we are acting from a healthy place and have self-love and self-respect, we put the oxygen masks on ourselves first in whatever way that means for us. We will go through all of that in PART III of the series. First, we have to be AWARE!

Just For Today

Think about where you may be living your shame. Try not to judge, just be the observer. I’m not asking anyone to take any kind of action.

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Did you read today’s companion piece? 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 10 – Living My Shame

I was Drunk is NOT an Excuse

A young teenage girl likes an older boy. He is drunk when they go to the movies together. He forces his hand down her pants and makes her bleed. She barely makes it out of the movie theatre because she is in so much pain. He doesn’t understand why she doesn’t want to talk. He says, “Sorry, I was drunk.” Does that make her pain go away? Does that bring back her innocence? Does that make it acceptable?

A sixteen-year-old girl does a favor for her boyfriend by letting his friend sober up at her house before driving. He rapes her. He apologizes to his friend saying, “Dude, sorry I was so drunk.” Her boyfriend breaks up with her because now she has had sex with his friend, but not him. How did this become her fault? She stays quiet because she doesn’t want people to think she’s a slut. She doesn’t think anyone will believe her anyway. She has heard it said before, “He was in her room, what did she expect?”

A young college student is pledging a fraternity and is going through hazing. The student dies and it could have been stopped if someone called 9-1-1. They were underage drinking so the fear of getting in trouble stops them in their tracks. “I’m sorry I didn’t call the police. I couldn’t think straight because I was drinking.” Now a family and friends have to mourn.

A young professional woman is at a cocktail party for work. The Vice President of one of the biggest manufacturers in the industry starts talking to her about her future and she is excited. He introduces her to other owners and executives. Later, the men discuss in front of her how sexy she is and how she can have her choice of any man there. One pulls her in and says, “Why don’t you come up to my room and we will talk about how big I can make you?” She finds away to get out of there. The next day, “I’m sorry I was drunk last night. I hope I didn’t say or do anything to offend you.” Two months later at the next event, imagine the surprise to the young woman when he does it again, but is even more aggressive. No man is sticking up for her and telling him to back off. Everyone including her is scared about how it will affect them professionally. Some people laugh it off and say he is so drunk. Some people talk about her and how she is dressed. The party hook up is just apart of the culture.

A young woman is dating a man who hits her during a fight while they are both drunk. The next day, “I’m so sorry, I was drunk. It will never happen again.” He doesn’t drink for a few months. She stays telling everyone how he has been so amazing and he really learned his lesson. “He would never do it to me again.” A few months later, she shows up with bruises. She is too embarrassed and somehow has found a way to blame herself for what happened.

A woman lives with a man and he comes bursting into the shower in a fit of rage. He is screaming at her and pulls the shower curtain down. She sinks down into the shower as she sobs uncontrollably trying to figure out what she did wrong. The next morning, “Sorry, I was drunk.” He cries and weeps begging for forgiveness. She is on eggshells and waiting for the next shoe to drop. Can she really trust that this won’t happen again?

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Friends gather at house for a couples get together. One of the women get so intoxicated that she hits on one of her friend’s husbands. She pulls him in close and puts her tongue in his ear. He gets away quickly. She has no memory of what happened, but her friends tell her. She is embarrassed and apologizes, “I’m sorry I was so drunk.” How can her husband trust her next time she goes out drinking? What would happen if the next guy actually wanted her? Was she going to cheat on him? Can her friends trust her not to do this to their husbands?

A married woman calls the police because her husband calls her saying that he is going to kill himself and she will never see him again. When he finally comes home he parks the car down the road because he sees the police cars in the driveway. When the police talk to him he starts screaming profanities at her and tells the officers that she is the crazy one. The police take him to a place to sleep it off. The next day, “I’m so sorry, honey. I was drunk. Please, don’t leave me. I will kill myself if you leave me.”

A mother falls down drunk with her young child in her arms. She breaks her child’s arm, but is too drunk to take the kid to the hospital. She doesn’t call an ambulance. Overnight the child starts getting sick and throwing up. The next morning, she calls her mom and tells her what’s going on with her child. “Why didn’t you take her to the hospital?” “I couldn’t drive because I was drunk. I didn’t think it was that bad. I didn’t know she was that hurt.”

A husband and wife are drinking and they start fighting in front of their children. They see mommy punching daddy while daddy is holding her off and calling her names. The next day, “I’m sorry, Mommy and Daddy had a little too much to drink and things got a little carried away. I’m sorry you guys had to see it.” This excuse doesn’t take away what they saw. Hearing sorry doesn’t make it ok. Those children just learned that drinking is an excuse for very bad behavior. This information can manifest a few alternative futures. One, they starting counting drinks when people are drinking in front of them as a defense mechanism to figure out when the space is no longer safe. They learn to hate all alcohol and judge everyone who drinks it. They learn to love alcohol and use it as an excuse for their poor choices. They learn to expect people to forgive them because it happened while they were drunk. They end up in the same kind of toxic relationship and the cycle continues. The lucky ones realize it early and realize this is not healthy.

These scenarios go on and on. If alcohol is used as an excuse, there is a much bigger problem. Quitting drinking doesn’t solve the problem, but it will be a huge tool in not covering up what the problem really is. It takes a lot of work un-programming hurtful patterns we are taught by circumstances, families, and society. Drinking is not an acceptable excuse. We can’t teach our children that it is acceptable to not have control over their own actions. We can’t let the next generation of women believe that being disrespected and assaulted is ok under any circumstance. If a person is really sorry, they will work to change. They won’t do it for the person they hurt. They will do it for themselves because they don’t want to be the person they have become. If a person tries to do it for another person’s approval it won’t stick. The willpower has to run so deep that for them, they can’t imagine another way than fix what got them there in the first place.

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As an empowered person, we don’t have to accept the excuse either. This includes not letting it be our excuse. Our job is to figure out what we need to do to protect and take care of ourselves and our energy from unacceptable behavior. We live in the age of technology. We can always use it to our advantage. Self-care is what matters. Take the time to do the research. There are so many tools and places that can help. I am a recovering people pleaser. I often slip and start thinking about what other people will think if I… (fill-in the blank). I will tell you from my experience, taking care of myself is NEVER the wrong choice. People will think what they want to think. That is none of my business. My business is to take care of the person that I’m with from the cradle to the grave. I need to live a life that I’m proud of. For me, that is being an example for my children and others of love and respect. I want them to get a positive perspective on how to treat friends, family, the opposite sex, co-workers, people who violate other people’s space, and people who disrespect them and/or other people around them. This means I need to make decisions for myself that will help project these values.

This doesn’t mean we can’t forgive. Forgiveness is not about the other person. Forgiveness lessens the burden on our own hearts. When we carry around the level of hurt these scenarios can bring up, we suffer. If we helped perpetuate this excuse, we need to forgive ourselves, then do something to change it. That is what I’m doing now. Does this mean I’m going to be perfect? No! I have accepted the excuse, I have used drinking as an excuse for myself and others at different times in my life. Today, I’m aware of the pain it has caused and how it effects society as a whole. I’m contributing to what I want to see in the world now,  instead of perpetuating what has been acceptable for far too long.

As for forgiving another person’s behavior does not mean accepting it, re-exposing ourselves to the person, or any further contact if that is not what feels right. Simply, forgiveness is finding a way not to carry the pain and using the lesson to make us better people. Next time, we may stand up for that stranger we see this happening to. We say something when we see things happening in front of us. We stop laughing it off when people do something to stand up for themselves. We protect the children who are the innocent by-standers. When we can get past our own pain, we are open to help others in the most constructive and loving ways possible. This is no easy task. The first step is having awareness that the pain is there. Then finding constructive and productive ways to persevere through it.

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff ©2017

BLAME, BLAME GO AWAY!

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If you knew that blaming is what is keeping you from being happy, would you stop doing it? Well, it is. I’m not saying this is easy to change. We have become a society full of blamers. Constantly pushing the blame to somebody/something else while the problems sit and grow. I love that definition of insanity that says, “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Blame is one of those vicious cycles that it is easy to get caught up in, even if we know better.

Blame is destroying us in so many ways. We use it to destroy  our relationships, ourselves, our families, our communities, and our humanity.  It is hard to find working solutions when all we see is the problem and who is at fault. When we feel the need to be right, we don’t even listen to the concerns on the other side. Our minds are closed and we start a war. Things get ugly and nothing gets resolved. All we are being taught is to feed the fire and blame more.

Blaming equals disrespect. We all know it subconsciously, which is why our defenses  can go flying up and we become ready for a fight. Nobody wants to feel disrespected, ignored, and unimportant. The funny thing is we do it to ourselves more than anyone else. How many times have we gone against ourselves, our beliefs, our self-care, our peace, and our happiness? If we are not showing ourselves value and respect, how are we expected to give it somebody else?

In my teenage years, I stopped learning to blame other people for my feelings, actions, reactions, and thoughts. The problem was I put the finger on me and BLAMED myself. Blame is destructive whether it is pointed outward or inward. Even going into my adult years, I thought I was doing it right. I couldn’t understand why I still wasn’t happy, and still falling into negative patterns. I turned such a critical finger on myself that it created a monster festering inside me.

I kept trying to make things better on the outside. I had no idea the havoc that was going on the inside. I acted out in so many different ways. I had no idea the kind of harm I was causing. I still was blaming things like alcohol, drugs, work, cars, name the object, I could blame it. I didn’t realize the blame was making me blind to the truth. I had to explore the unpaved trails to learn what was real. The only way to do it, is to be aware and  watch where we place your feet. Our missteps may hurt, but they can teach us a better way.

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I didn’t learn until much later in life that it isn’t about blame at all. It is about taking responsibility for my actions, making positive changes, and then letting it go. I am only responsible for my part. Figuring out what that is can be tricky, especially when the situation is extreme. Byron Katie taught me how to take responsibility without turning it into self-abuse. I have been shown so many different ways to look at a situation through her videos and books,  which you can find by searching her name on the internet. Her work gives me the tools to get out of the vicious blame cycle. I’m not happy there. I don’t like the way it feels when I have to be right to the point where I’m in a constant internal argument in my head with someone who isn’t there. I’m letting someone else’s path wreak havoc on my peace. When I become aware that I’m doing it, I have the opportunity to change it.

Getting away from blame is a process. I stopped beating myself up when I get caught up in it. I acknowledge how I participated in it, and I pray for the awareness to catch it sooner next time. If  I can take an action to change the situation, I do it. Writing is one of the ways I use, sharing pieces that spread compassion, passing on positive messages, being apart of love in action, volunteering, or simply becoming aware of when when we are participating in the blame game all helps to spread seeds for change. Whatever we choose to do in a more loving and compassionate way is contributing towards finding solutions. How we want to live our life is a choice we each need to make as individuals. What other people choose is not our business. They have their own journey. We can hope and pray that they find happiness and peace within themselves. When we know that we want peace and happiness in our own lives and commit to becoming aware of the times we stray from it, life will get better. When we find peace within, we won’t stir up chaos outside of ourselves. We will start seeing what is working, what is beautiful, and what is real. There is nothing real in chaos, just hurt and ego.

My awareness helps me to see and accept my responsibility and change faster. The lessons become less dramatic, and easier to spot.  As I have grown, I am able to see clearer, live happier, and as Byron Katie says, “Be a lover of what is.”

Wishing you all internal peace and outward gratitude,

Rachael Wolff