It sucks right?! You know on some level it’s probably not your fault at all, but the moment that person said or did XYZ your heart plummeted straight into your stomach and you felt sick with guilt and self-blame, immediately thinking, ‘Why did I do that? Why didn’t I do that other thing instead?’.
We’ve all been there but for some people it’s a daily struggle of feeling bad and taking the blame for whatever seems to be going wrong. This is the realm of the people pleaser, something, as a reformed people pleaser, I know all about.
The problem with taking the blame for everything, is that quite often it’s not actually our fault which means we’re wasting energy bringing ourselves down when that energy could be better served lifting us and everyone else up.
As a coach and counsellor I see self-blame more often than I’d like to, but it has meant I’ve got a pretty fool-proof system to detox and reform people pleasers so that they begin to see the value and merit in putting themselves first more often.
My number one tool for helping clients initially with self-blame is this: there are three simple steps and you do them one after the other:
Recognize what’s going on. Awareness and mindfulness are so key to ANY change. If you don’t know what’s going on, how are you expected to fix it? So next time you get that sinking feeling, catch it, and ask yourself, ‘What am I thinking right now? What’s going on for me?’. More often than not, there’s some sort of self-blame mantra under the surface like, ‘I always mess things up.’ Try not to judge yourself for this, just acknowledge it for what it is – a thought.
Challenge yourself. All beliefs are learned, which means they can be unlearned. This is at the roof of all CBT and is a really useful tool once you know what you’re dealing with. Asking yourself the following question once you’ve figured out what you’re thinking can be incredibly powerful – ‘Why does it always have to be about me?’ This works two-fold. People pleasers will instantly recoil that they could have possibly made a situation all about them and seek to rectify it immediately, and it also actually challenges you to ask if there could be other possibilities. Perhaps the person who was rude to you had had an argument with their spouse on the way to work and decided to take it out on you, rather than taking offense to the way you said ‘Good morning’ to them?
Forgive yourself and ask to see things differently. I love this lesson from A Course in Miracles. When we blame or berate ourselves, we need to forgive ourselves in order to move on, otherwise the cycle just continues. Simply acknowledge what’s gone on and say, ‘I’m willing to forgive myself and choose to see this differently.’ By doing this you change your energetic vibration from a place of blame to a place of neutrality which allows you to move on. You don’t have to DO anything to forgive yourself. Just say the words and let the Universe do the rest!!
I’d love to hear how you get on with the three steps to eradicating self-blame – let me know in the comments and if you have any questions I’ll answer them too 🙂
Emma Brooke is a coach, counsellor, avid yogi and meditator. She helps move people from people-pleasing into a new definition of selfishness; one where, by looking after yourself and your needs, you are able to best serve the world. Join the #selfishconsciousness movement in her Fearless Consciousness Facebook Group and subscribe for weekly updates at EmmaBrooke.net