Self-Blame or Personal Responsibility?

We’re encouraged to take personal responsibility to empower ourselves. It does feel good, doesn’t it? I admit it can be scary, but the strength of it feels great. When I’m taking responsibility for my life and there’s a problem, I’m in charge of the solution. It’s my choice. Since I like being in charge, that’s good news to me.

Plus I don’t have to wait for somebody else to change, or for a circumstance to change – none of which I can control. So I vote YES on taking personal responsibility.

But in the process of doing that, self-blame can creep in. Without me even noticing. So what? you might ask. Isn’t that part of taking responsibility? Isn’t that a good thing?

My answer to both questions is a large NO.  Because it’s just not constructive to blame yourself. In fact, it can keep you seriously stuck.

Self-blame says:

  • I need to fix myself.
  • I need to punish myself in some way.
  • I need to regret what I did.

Since I’m not sure how long these things take, or when I’m finished, I could stay here a long time. I keep telling myself, “I should know better. I shouldn’t have done that. If I scold myself enough, maybe it won’t happen again.” Etc.

And while I’m blaming myself, it keeps me in a looking-back position — focused on the past. Also an unhelpful place to hang out.  I’m speaking from plenty of personal experience here.

On the other hand, taking responsibility simply requires me to see my part in what’s going on. I can do that honestly AND without self-blame. So first I take a close look.

Then I just ask myself: Do I want to change something? If so, what are some options? What action do I need to take to change things? This keeps me in a looking-forward position – focused on the future. And that draws me ahead in the direction I want to go.

And here’s a bonus: When you let go of the whole self-blame thing, your creativity has some room to breathe. It’s really liberating! You can see so many more possibilities when you’re not bogged down in the heaviness, the negative energy, and thought-spinning of self-blame.

Try setting the blame aside and see what happens. (If that’s tricky for you, EFT can definitely help.) What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and let us know.

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  • Rod Sherwin

    Such an important post. Sometimes the people who accept personal responsibility for themselves then over compensate and accept responsibility for everything that happens in the world! The whole LOA crap about creating the entire reality and create hurricanes, earthquakes etc is taking the personal responsiblity too far.

    Acknowledge your part but blame is just not useful. I really like the idea of asking yourself the question “Do I want to change something?” as this helps identifity what you can take responsibility for. If you have lost 3 jobs in a row because you don’t get on with your boss, then you might want to change something. If you lost a job because one boss was difficult it may be them not you. It can be tricky to find that line. And yes EFT definitely helps get clarity on what you can accept responsibility for and help you make the desired change.

  • Janet

    Love your point, Rod, about using EFT to “get clarity on what you can accept responsibility for.” It can really help every step of the way, can’t it? Thanks for adding to the conversation.

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  • Krishna

    So true. When it has become a deeply engrained strategy and habit, I have found that beyond fixing, punishing and regretting other negative thought and behavior patterns tend to emerge such as:

    -self-judging: “I just can’t get over myself, push myself to succeed. I failed again.”
    -negative generalization: “Life is just unfair and difficult.”
    -denying: “It just isn’t worth it.”
    -fatalism :”Maybe this just isn’t the right time or thing for me.”
    -anger at self and others, feeling tempted to blame others or life,
    -avoidance of feelings and habits of distraction.

    These old patterns sometimes pop up when I try to change the habit – which makes it hard to build new healthy habits such as
    -actively facing all feelings
    -taking actions
    -accept oneself without judgment 
    while moving forward with ones life without feeling sorry for oneself.

  • Anonymous

    Yes! And those thought and behavior patterns that don’t serve you well are perfect places to focus your EFT for releasing. Then you can follow with affirmative tapping on those healthy habits you want to build. Looks like you have your tapping plan laid out perfectly for you, Krishna. 

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