“With emotional abuse, the insults, insinuations, criticism, and accusations slowly eat away at the victim’s self-esteem until he or she is incapable of judging a situation realistically.” – Beverly Engel
For a lot of people, blaming themselves seems like a natural part of life. However, many people tend to blame themselves for things that aren’t their fault, or worse: for things that are other people’s mistakes.
According to Health Guidance, “It is first very important to understand the distinct difference between blaming yourself and taking responsibility for your actions. When you accept responsibility for a wrong, you are saying that you are the cause for something to have happened.”
To begin living for yourself, you must first learn to stop blaming yourself for a mistake that isn’t yours i.e. stop taking responsibility for something you haven’t done. Learning to take responsibility for your own actions, and your actions alone, is what learning to live for yourself is all about.
You don’t need to blame yourself for things that you had no control over, or the wrongs that others have chosen to do. Here are the best ways to stop blaming yourself for other people’s mistakes so that you can finally live for yourself.
Here Are 4 Ways To Stop Blaming Yourself For Someone Else’s Mistakes
1. Recognize your responsibilities
The first step to allowing yourself to be free of blame for other people, is to focus on what is actually your responsibility. If you’re blaming yourself for someone else’s misfortune, ask yourself if it was your responsibility to make sure that person didn’t make a mistake in the first place. The answer will usually be ‘No’.
This will allow you to focus on yourself, your own needs and the things that you’re responsible for in your life, rather than putting your own responsibilities on hold in order to feel blame for things that other people have done.
“Self-blame is one of the most toxic forms of emotional abuse. It amplifies our perceived inadequacies, whether real or imagined, and paralyzes us before we can even begin to move forward,” says psychotherapist, teacher and writer Michael J. Formica.
Remember, blame is a condemnation for something going wrong, and you are never to be condemned for something someone else has done.
2. Get a reality check
Having a support system is invaluable in so many different situations, and most especially when you need someone to help you with a reality check. Holding onto blame for something that we didn’t do can cause us to feel guilty and continue a feedback loop of blame and guilt. However, when you have friends and family members who are outside of the situation, whatever it may be, you can turn to them for help.
When an unbiased party is able to hear the situation and assess what is going on, you’ll be able to tell whether or not you’re carrying blame for someone else’s mistakes. This reality check can not only help you release that blame, but also move forward with your life.
3. Forgive yourself
Sometimes, the reason that we hold onto blame for other people’s mistakes is because we’re so used to not releasing the blame for our own. It seems like a natural thing to blame yourself for someone else’s problems when you’re so used to blaming yourself for your own! The best way to release that negativity is to learn how to forgive yourself. We all make mistakes! We’re only human. There’s no one on earth who is perfect.
“Treat mistakes as learning experiences. Avoid viewing them as failures. Instead, use them as opportunities for improvement and growth,” says life coach Evelyn Lim.
While forgiveness can be one of the hardest things for us humans to do, it can be an invaluable tool in releasing yourself from undue blame. Once you begin to forgive yourself for the mistakes that you have made, you’ll be able to stop blaming yourself for the things that others have done.
4. Move forward
Living in the past is one of the things that stops us from moving forward in life. When we continue to blame ourselves for things that we didn’t do, we’re pretty much keeping ourselves stuck in the past. Moving forward is a key component of being able to release yourself from blame and reclaim your life for yourself.
“Mistakes happen every day to everyone and if we all just continued to blame ourselves all of the time instead of moving on, we would have a very sad and depressed world. Blaming yourself will only work to bring you down and will not effectively solve any problem,” adds Mark Thomas on Health Guidance.
When you focus on moving forward and continuing on with life, you’ll find that you’re no longer trapped in a cycle of blame and guilt. Instead, you will find that you are forgiving yourself for past mistakes and allowing yourself to feel positive emotions instead of negative ones. Sometimes, it’s time to just say, “No more”, and move forward with your life and leave the blame behind you.
In life, we can only take responsibility for ourselves. We can’t control other people’s actions. We can only control ourselves. Learning this makes living for yourself so much easier, and opens you up to a whole new world of positivity. Blame is not something that anyone needs to be carrying for someone else, nor is it a productive emotion to have.
“Playing the self-blame game can be destructive. Although reviewing your actions to determine what went well and what went wrong can be highly beneficial, getting stuck in “self-blame” has the potential to be psychologically destructive,” add psychology professors Shoba Sreenivasan, Ph.D., and Linda E. Weinberger, Ph.D.
All you need to do is make sure that you’re taking responsibility for yourself, keeping yourself grounded, and learn to forgive the mistakes you’ve made in the past. Once you do those things, moving forward will bring you to your new life of living for yourself.