A few weeks ago, I was helping a client understand blame and the subtle difference between 2 types of blaming.
With blame, there is appropriate responsibility assigning and inappropriate responsibility assigning.
One focuses on the thing that someone did or the action they took. And the other focuses on the way that action makes you feel.
Assigning responsibility to someone else based on an action they took is totally appropriate.
Assigning responsibility to someone else based on how that action made you feel is not appropriate.
My client admitted having 10-year-old blame towards her mother-in-law.
And the most interesting thing about this was that she couldn’t even remember what her mother-in-law did 10 years ago.
She could only remember how it made her feel. She was still so angry at her mother-in-law for hurting her feelings.
She had been blaming her mother-in-law for her own negative emotions for the past 10 years and she couldn’t figure out how to feel better.
I told her that the secret to feeling better is always very simple.
Take back the responsibility for your feelings.
I explained that she had inadvertently assigned the responsibility of her emotions to her mother-in-law and she was now totally dependent on her mother-in-law apologizing, changing, or doing something different so that she could feel better.
She had already invested 10 years of waiting for her mother-in-law to make the first move.
And she could keep on waiting.
Or, she could say enough is enough and decide to feel better now.
She could release the 10-year-old blame and accept responsibility for deciding how she wants to feel now based on what she chooses to think now.
She tentatively agreed to let go of the old and inappropriately assigned blame.
She was curious to see if it would make her feel better.
And was unsure, feeling somewhat exposed and uncomfortable.
This was unchartered territory. That old blame had become a dear friend of sorts.
This would be a process, I explained.
Taking responsibility for our emotions is hard work. Blaming others for our emotions is way easier.
One leaves you feeling empowered, the other does not.
She committed to the letting go of the old and painful blame. She practiced it daily.
It took about a month and then it was gone.
Every once in a while, this old blame comes back and tries to get her attention.
She gently refuses the invitation.
She genuinely feels better.
Now, what about you?
- Is there some old blame hanging out in your life?
- Do you want to let it go for a chance to feel better?
- Can you separate out the blame-able action from the feelings you are experiencing as a result of that action in this situation?
- Can you assign responsibility appropriately in this situation?
If you prefer, we can do this work together – because I know that two minds are better than one. Book a complimentary Breakthrough Session to see how letting go of old and painful blame can help you to start feeling better. Let’s take 30 minutes to talk about it. Book your session today!