It has been revolutionary for me to realize that there is a huge difference between “taking responsibility” and blaming myself.
For a very long time, my go-to response when something went wrong was to blame myself. I was stupid. I was wrong. I did the wrong thing. I said the wrong thing. This would then spiral into a long, often incredibly drawn out, constant, ever-deepening self-loathing. What a worthless, despicable, horrible person/ waste of oxygen and space on this planet I felt myself to be. I am not exaggerating. It was/ I was brutal. To me. Constantly. And, if, for any reason, things went well, it was source for instant “impostor syndrome” – people just don’t realize that I am worthless, despicable and horrible, or they wouldn’t be supporting me…..
I would swing back and forth, between “building myself up” and feeling totally valueless and defeated. Reading self-help book after self-help book; gobbling up articles in magazines (that’s what we read back then, kids…) about how to be a better… friend, employee, person… anything/everything — just knowing that I totally needed to NOT BE ME, to somehow be better than that.
So I’d go from blaming myself – this is all my fault and I’m such a miserable excuse of a person; to “taking responsibility” – yes, I’m a miserable excuse of a person, but, see I’m trying to improve myself.
Are you getting a sense of a problem, there? Well, there are lots of them – but here’s the one I’m drilling at: what I was calling taking responsibility was just another version of blaming myself. Do you see that? Holy f-in’ moly!! I was never going to get out of that pit that I just kept digging for myself, no matter what I called it.
It went on for years – throughout childhood, adolescence, adulthood, wife-hood, motherhood, divorce-hood. It was rampant in every “hood” I went through. Depression. Suicidal thoughts. Suicidal behaviors. Vicious, brutal self-loathing, permeating every cell of my being. Feeling un-lovable, unless I was being what someone else wanted me to be, because who I thought I was, was so ugly and uncomfortable for me. Trying to love and be loving, but, without that experience of my own, with myself, I HAD NO IDEA WHAT THAT REALLY WAS!
So, did anything/ could anything/ can anything ever change?
YES – something changed for me! All sourced in a shift of perception. And the shift in perception allowed me the clarity to see that there is a better, more helpful, more loving, more holistic way of “taking responsibility,” and Oh. My. – yes, I’ll say it: God. This shift has changed my life. And I tell you, it can change yours, too.
Anything here resonate with you? Stick with me as I continue to examine these shifts and experiences – and tell me about your own experiences, in the comments.