One of the first sins in Genesis is Adam blaming Eve for eating the apple. It’s no wonder that blaming others is one of the easiest sins of self protection we use. We don’t want to feel the shame of doing something wrong, so we divert the blame to someone else. Self blame is different.
Victims of abuse commonly self blame. It was easier to blame myself for what happened. In a strange way, I thought it would give me control. I wanted to be able to control my circumstances, to prevent future suffering. If it was my fault, I could prevent future pain.
The problem with that line of thinking is that it only causes more pain, depression and anxiety. It turns into beating myself up for all the imperfections in my life.
‘If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything’. … “No one is good–except God alone. ‘ Meaning Jesus as the Son of God and as such He is the one we always trust to help us be free from condemnation and self blame. (1 John 3:20).
God wants us to be free from self blame. There are a few simple things I practice to leave self blame behind. First, I needed to learn to recognize when I was taking responsibility for things that weren’t mine. If my husband and I would have a disagreement, I would always take the blame and apologize. I have learned that this isn’t helpful to my wellbeing or our relationship. I have learned to own what is mine and let others own what is their’s.
Second, I have had to learn to stop the judge mental voice in my head. This voice focuses on perfection and body image. Silencing it has taken a lot of work and support of others.
Third, I have had to look deeply at why I believe these things about myself. During the time of abuse, these dysfunctional beliefs helped me survive. They helped me to keep striving for a whole life. Unpacking these beliefs and recognizing how they no longer serve me has been life giving.
Letting go of self blame has been a journey. One, that Christ has guided every step of the way. I admit, it hasn’t been an easy journey to take. God has honored the work; work that has taken much longer than I anticipated. There were moments I questioned if it was worth it. Let me emphatically say it’s worth it.
Do you need to start the journey? Are you already working on letting go of self blame? Have you made it to the other side? Share your experience here and breathe life and bring hope to others.