“When you blame others, you give up your power to change.” ~Robert Anthony
Blame is seductive because it makes us right and them wrong. For a moment, it feels good to say, “It was their fault,” but in the long run holding on to blame only hurts us and does absolutely nothing to help our evolution. In fact, it keeps us stuck.
But, I get it. When we feel wronged, upset, and angry, that person is the only one to blame.
I understand that some things are so egregious and so unforgivable that it seems impossible to not default to blame. It’s almost instinctual. We are hard wired to blame.
But I have come to learn the hard way that when we blame others, we avoid seeing the truth about ourselves. When we focus on what someone else did wrong, we’re not able to see our part and learn about what we need to do differently going forward.
A while ago, I was in a toxic relationship that brought out the worst in me.
I felt like I was the most incompetent and unlovable human being on this planet. My self-esteem was nonexistent. I gave far too much of myself in the name of love, without ever checking in with my heart or my body to feel whether this journey was serving me.
Ultimately, as I abandoned myself, the relationship abandoned me: She cheated on me. After giving endlessly to this relationship, that was my payback. And just to add a cherry on top, she stole from me.
I didn't recognize myself. I was stripped of many things. I lost my ability to trust myself and others. I lost the ideals I'd once had about love. I lost respect for myself. I ignored my intuition. I forgot to honor the sacredness and preciousness of my heart. I lost my confidence. I lost my innocence. For a minute, I thought I had lost my soul. I felt completely empty.
I remember that the blame, the anger, and the frustration were blinding. Every word I spoke and every thought that crossed my mind had one theme: I was the victim and she was wrong. I would happily share my story endlessly, and I made myself right every single time—and boy did it feel good to badmouth her over and over again.
But when the dust settled a bit and I was able to step back from my anger-filled stupor, I realized that I was tired of this story. I was done with it. I was ready to do some healing because the burden of carrying blame and anger was weighing me down. It was heavy.
What had happened no longer mattered; my desire to heal was greater than my desire to hold on to this story.
With my journal in hand, some lavender in the air, and tears streaming down my face, I took three deep breaths, summoned the energy of blame, and for the first time I asked myself: “How did I contribute to this? What do I need to learn from this?” I then said, “Universe, I am ready to release this story. Show me the way.”
My mind was screaming, “What! How dare you ask this question?” But my heart was proud of this because it was a moment of deep truth.
This was a teachable moment for me. I stayed with the feeling as I closed my eyes and allowed the anger to consume me. And in that tornado of anger inside of me, I finally received insight.
Once the storm inside me passed, I realized that I had never once spoke my truth in that relationship. I ignored every single red flag from the beginning. I had this notion that I could save people from themselves. I was arrogant in thinking that my love would heal anyone. I wanted to fix the world. I wanted to fix her. I abandoned myself.
Then I asked, “But how can life do this to me when I was so giving, so genuine, and so authentic with my love?” The insight that came from that question was, “That’s not love, that’s self-abuse. It is not your job to save anyone.”
And the lessons kept pouring in: From a spiritual perspective, and on a soul level, I know that it is beautiful to love everyone, but in this physical plane, we must pay attention to how people are showing up for us.
We can’t ignore mistreatment or unhealthy behaviors in the name of love. We can love from afar, we can love from the other end of the world, but that doesn’t mean that we need to stay in a relationship with anyone who is on a very different path or with someone who is clearly living a highly toxic life.
This blame that I was carrying came back to me tenfold. I was really just angry with myself for allowing something outside of me to have so much power over me, and for allowing something outside of me to override my own intuition and feelings.
These realizations laid a foundation for my healing. From that moment, I became more conscious in my interactions. My boundaries strengthened and my relationship with myself began to flourish.
I still had, and will forever have, a lot of work to do, but the minute I was willing to release blame I recharged my energy and took back my power. I realized that I do not want to be the passive observer in my life. I want to be as conscious as possible.
In this moment of truth, I also learned that self-love is realizing that our bodies and our health are sacred, and holding on to blame destroys us on a physical, spiritual, and emotional level.
The biggest epiphany I had is that we all came here to learn lessons, and some of the lessons will seem unfair, and occasionally way worse than what I share here. But I learned to surrender to this belief—the belief that my soul came here to learn lessons and that, if I can become the happy and willing student, there is so much wisdom to be gained from these moments of darkness.
After feeling anger and blame for a while, most of us, myself included, just want to find some way to escape the pain, but if we simply ignore our feelings, we also shut down the message.
I understand that this is one of the hardest things we as humans can do, but I promise you that there are treasures inside of you waiting to be uncovered during each moment of darkness.
I realize that every instance of hurt warrants a different degree of blame, and the anger will vary. Some lessons will undoubtedly be much harder than others. But in the end, if we’re willing to surrender to these lessons and love ourselves through the most painful abuse and injustice, we will rise as warriors.
We will rise as light workers. We will rise as healers. We will be the light in someone’s dark world. We will gain insight. We will have a chance to do it over in a different way.
It’s time to take your power back. Begin today, pick any moment of darkness in your world, and start with this question: What do I need to learn from this?
Breathe and just listen. Your body knows the answers.