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You Can Blame Others or Save Yourself

“You save yourself or remain unsaved.” ~Alice Sebold, Lucky

Last year was a year of great changes for me. I ended a three-and-a-half-year long toxic relationship, I started a new relationship (which fell apart six months later), I applied for a semester abroad, and started a full-time job while studying full-time, as well.

Honestly, I don’t know how I managed to survive this busy time, but I did, and in January 2012 I left for Stockholm.

It was the best six months of my life.

I met amazing people from all over the world and I found true friends among them. I was in places I always dreamed of being. I was studying at the one of the best universities in Europe. I traveled, explored, and had fun in my life again. I made my dream come true with my hard work and tenacity.

Even though everything seemed perfect, I felt that something was missing.

I struggled with my emotions and stress overload after six months of hard work to afford living abroad for the next six months. I also dealt with periods of depression.

I have been struggling with depression since I was thirteen. The worst period took place while I was in high school, when I thought about committing suicide. I got through this eventually with the help of my friends and a psychologist.

Currently my mood is stable, but I still experience heavy mood swings and depressive episodes that seem to appear “out of the blue.” That was the case with my semester abroad. One day I was happy with my life, and couple of days later I couldn’t find the strength to get up from the bed.

Maybe it was the stress, or the heavy Swedish winter with lack of daylight, or maybe it was something different. For two weeks in February I didn’t want to leave my room.

I tried to do so many things, to use my time abroad to its maximum so I would not have the feeling that I wasted my time there after I got back home.

Most of all, I tried to keep up a blog. Writing used to be as natural as breathing to me. But I couldn’t do it. I found it difficult to get all of my thoughts down.

My ex-boyfriend, who I haven’t been in touch with recently, didn’t like it that I wrote so much during our relationship. He always complained that he learned more about me from reading my posts than talking to me.

We were not a well-matched couple, but we stayed together for years and months, and during that time I experienced a writing block that I felt I couldn’t get past.

Every time I sat down to write something, to express my feelings in a blog post I had this wave of guilt running through me. I felt guilty that I preferred to write a blog post or a short story that would express what I felt instead of talking to my boyfriend. He’d complain about it a lot, and as a result, I just stopped writing.

Then, about one month before I left Stockholm to get back home, I met my current boyfriend. During one of our many long conversations, I mentioned how much I miss writing, and why I was struggling to write then.

He told me something very wise: “You still have it within you. It does not depend on any other people. It’s you; it’s all about you.”

It was like a ray of light. I understood it straight away: You save yourself or remain unsaved.

I blamed my ex-boyfriend for the writing block I had, and I was so focused on blaming him that I didn’t actually do anything to unblock myself! I just felt angry with myself every time I sat down to write something down.

It was the same when I had experienced depression. I was so sure that someone would come and help me. So I patiently waited and waited, and nothing happened. There was no one to save me.

There were people in my life, but I had to make the first step toward getting healthy. I had to go to a psychologist, have a talk with her, and start the treatment.

The answer for all your questions is within you.

You are the container for your problems, but you are also for the solution for them. But first, you have to want to save yourself. You have to want to move forward.

So how exactly do you save yourself?

There isn’t a simple answer—every person has different issues—but there are some simple things you can do start:

Make an effort to understand your situation. Don’t change it, and don’t lie about it. Try to see it as clearly as possible, from different points of view; orient yourself in your own environment.

Identify your problems. What is your problem? What’s keeping you stuck and upset? Why do you blame other people?

Be honest with yourself. It’s not easy but without doing this, you won’t go anywhere.

Stop blaming other people. It doesn’t help. It doesn’t change the situation. Actually, it won’t even make you feel better. It’s a great waste of your time and energy. Do you really want to spend your time on something so unproductive?

Take responsibility for your own life. Don’t wait for someone to come along and change your life completely. Even if you have the support of friends and qualified professionals, they will not be able to save or help you unless you’ll make the first step.

It sounds as if it a lonely road, but actually it’s not. If you have the good fortune to call someone a true friend, I’m sure that she or he will help you to cope with the situation.

But it is you who have to make the first step. You have to be the one who starts talking and doing something about your problem.

I know from my own experience that sometimes it can take months to find and receive external support, even from qualified people, but don’t let that discourage you from getting started.

Face your fears. Name your problems. Talk with people. Be the captain of your own life. Be honest, not only with yourself, but also with other people.

Most importantly, don’t waste your precious time feeling bad and doing nothing about it. You are the hero of your own life. Save yourself and live.

Photo by Colin Bowern

Avatar of Aneta Waz

About Aneta Waz

Aneta Waz is a coaching and counseling student, a Buddhist, a traveler, an aspiring writer, and an amateur photographer (hello-ann.deviantart.com). Currently residing in south Poland preparing to defend her bachelor’s thesis about the means of persuasion in a language.

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  • Georgia

    Thank you! This was wonderful! A good reminder and really inspiring :)

  • ‘ö-Dzin Tridral

    I agree entirely.  Blaming others is disempowering and means you have to wait for others to change.  Taking it on yourself looks like a harder road but means you can actually do something. That’s a more useful – and enjoyable – approach.

  • Aneta

    Glad that you liked it! :)

  • oanise93

    Dang, it seems that this post came at just the right time. I just want to say thank you for the post. So many times we place power in the hands of others when it comes to our problems when really it is all on us.

  • Aneta

    Glad you found this post useful/important! :)

  • Aneta

    completely agree with you!

  • Baygurl62

    I found this out……repressed anger = depression.  I’m always on the watch for it now. It has taken years of looking deep.  Just a thought.

  • alleykat_

    I could relate entirely.. thanks! 

  • http://reallifezen.com/ Real Life Zen

    Thanks for sharing your story. A friend of mine recently suffered a devastating loss, and she reached a similar conclusion as your own: eventually she had to stop waiting for someone else to rescue her and rescue herself instead. And she has!

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    Well, for obvious reasons I enjoyed the “It’s All About Me” part of your philosophy here….ehehheheee..

    You wrote “current boyfriend”, please pass on a big juicy hug from me (internet stranger) for his wise words that compelled you to revisit writing.  I LOVE this post.  
    Was the escaping your ex-boyfriend and the mention of Stockholm an intentional reference or just something my brain wanted to see?  Thank you for writing this.  Simple, practical steps and questions to ask are my favorite posts to read!  YOU ROCK!!!

  • Connie

    Thank you for your post and for being so transparent, reading this has helped me tremendouly this afternoon.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeff.mcandrews Jeff McAndrews

    Great story!  Well done.  

  • http://big-zen.blogspot.co.uk/ Big Zen

    Very wise indeed :)

  • Kimsuzanne

    So very true.

  • Aneta

    Glad you liked it :)

  • Aneta

    I completely agree with you. It took me one year to realise, and only with the help of my boyfriend… I hope everything works out for you just fine!

  • Aneta

    I’m more than happy to hear that. Hope that everything is alright!

  • Aneta

    Hahaha! A hug passed on. I’m very happy that you like it. And yes, I escaped my ex-boyfriend and spent an amazing half a year in Stockholm. All the best!

  • Aneta

    I hope that she is fine now! The first step is always the hardest. All the best for both of you.

  • Sundancebleu

    Thanks so much for this, it’s so inspirational to me.  I feel like I need to focus more on spending energy moving myself forward in the direction I’d like to go and less on being afraid to do so.  It’s a tough struggle, fear can really paralyze and as you say leave us on the sidelines waiting for someone or something to change things for us.  Your article is a nudge in the right direction for me!

    - Roger

  • Aneta

    I am very glad to read your response, Roger. There is nothing more inspirational than inspiring others. I hope everything will turn out to be just fine. I cross my fingers for you, you can do it! :)

  • Slip Mahoney

    Your essay is wonderful and filled with insight.  As a member of a twelve-step program, it brings to mind the middle portion of Serenity Prayer:

    “Please grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

    What can each of us change? Only two things: our own thoughts and our own actions.  Courageous is he or she who embraces these changes. 

  • Kclynn1985

    Thank you so much for your words. They epitomize exactly what I am feeling in this moment. I am learning to trust myself with my own happiness and am taking the reins of my life with a firm grip. I don’t feel quite so alone in this now. 

  • Aneta

    I hope that you will reach all your goals and be as happy as it is possible. Good luck!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QXLA7MYDQHGTZJZKR5WSGBXU6M Annette

    Exactly. We cannot change other people, but we can inspire them to do so and change ourselves. Good luck with your changes!

  • Del22hem

    Thank you for writing that, it’s given me a torch to shine today it the struggles come my way.

  • Suzi

    This is the second blog I’ve read here today that feels as if was written directly to me. Thank you for sharing =) 

  • Brunet

    Face your fears. So deep and beautiful.
    Thanks so much for this post. ♥

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QXLA7MYDQHGTZJZKR5WSGBXU6M Annette

    Happy you found it useful :)

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QXLA7MYDQHGTZJZKR5WSGBXU6M Annette

    Happy to hear! :)

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QXLA7MYDQHGTZJZKR5WSGBXU6M Annette

    Good luck with everything! Happy to help :)

  • Luv2teachabc

    Thank you. Really greatful I stumbled on your post. You’ve inspired me to start finding my good again instead of missing it for 5 yrs.

  • http://twitter.com/Chaoseed John Evans

    Yeah, that’s good advice for someone who doesn’t have other people blocking everything they try to do.
     

  • kaducky

    After one of the toughest break ups of my life, I have spent the last 3 months struggling to stay afloat. Some weeks I felt like me, others I felt like this stranger who, like you, didn’t want to leave her room. I spent so much time waiting for a friend to say or do the right thing to make all of the pain go away, but that has been without success. I’ve spent the last week listening to the song “Rescue” by Jason Mraz and wondering “where is the person who is going to rescue me?” The more I listened to it, though, and the more I pulled myself out of bed, I started realizing that maybe this time I have to rescue myself. I thought I had heard a quote about rescuing yourself and did a quick google search and instead, found this posting and had an “aaah, tiny buddha” moment. To read your words and understand 1. I’m not the first or the last person who will be in this position and 2. others have survived this before me, is truly inspiring. I guess it is now time for me to get real with myself and start taking those steps on my own. Thank you so much for sharing your story! 

  • http://www.stopstressandanxiety.com/ Mulkurnia

    Hi…glad to know that you are Buddhist as well…I learn after many years that it is best to take responsibility for your action instead of blaming on others.  You are right that even thought it might seem easier to blame on others, in effect, you will only make yourself feeling worse.

  • surabhi

    these r one of the most beautiful lines i m reading in long time…as if someone has penned down my feelings…..very very true thoughts..thanks

  • christine

    amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Aneta

    a lot depends on other people, true that, but most of the time we allow other people to block us.