Blame And Shame
You don’t need anyone else to blame you for anything because, chances are, you do it better yourself.
If you have ever found yourself overcome with shame mulling over past errors then this post is for you. But even if you don’t, then you can expect there will be people close to you who do, and it helps to know what they are going through.
At times, when self-recrimination raises its head, it is hard enough making it through the day. You feel a failure, unlikeable, and dismayed with who you are and tormented by the shame of your past mistakes.
It’s no good telling your self to snap out of it or to simply “cheer up”. They don’t work, and if anything, make you feel more to blame for lacking a “happy attitude”.
Yet there are ways of dealing with this inner torment and they don’t begin with you. Instead, they start with activity and being purposely involved with other people (so that you don’t have the headspace to focus on your failings).
What engaging with others does is turn your thinking and emotional realm outwards toward the needs of others. When we become overly focused on ourselves, it’s clear that our self-regulating thought processes are out of order. Why? Because languishing in the malaise of feeling sorry for our deficiencies is a luxury none of us can afford.
You and I have bigger fish to fry, meaning we have people to care for, listen to, love, and encourage. In these activities lies our own wellbeing and when we give enough, we no longer feel obliged to care how attractive we appear, how clever we seem, or how important we ought to be.
The therapy of helping is far superior to the excesses of self-attention. For while you no doubt do have things to feel ashamed about, that is true for all of us. Besides which, it is your unique contribution to life that people want to know most about. Meaning, if we allow ourselves the dignity to provide it (and the willingness to be more than our worst thoughts permit), we can not only free ourselves from our own woe. We can also bring light to those we love.
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