I’ve held onto blame and didn’t even realize it.
I’ve blamed others for me not getting what I wanted. I’ve blamed them for me being stuck and not taking action.
I’ve blamed them for my fears. I blamed them for my behavior and bad decisions.
For every way I didn’t like myself, I blamed others.
I was content to keep on blaming others until I learned that by blaming others, I was casting myself in the victim role.
Being a “victim,” didn’t sit well with me.
Cos I don’t see myself as a victim. Victims are usually weak in my view and I didn’t like seeing myself as weak.
So, seeing myself as a victim, thanks to my blame game, opened my eyes. I wanted to change the story I’d been telling myself.
Blame was keeping me stuck. Blame was giving me an excuse to not take responsibility.
Responsibility is the flip side of blame.
Responsibility is the shift from “Why did this happen?” to “What am I going to do about it?”
Blame is about the past. Responsibility is about the present.
It’s a shift in the way I was thinking about myself.
Jason came over one day for band practice with a new tattoo that read, “For us, not to us.”
He explained it meant, “We tend to see things as ‘Why is this always happening to me’? Instead of looking at it that way, say, ‘This is happening for me.'”
It’s a pretty big shift. It requires letting go of being a victim and moving into a place of learning.
Lise Bourbeau, in her book “Heal Your Wounds And Find Your True Self” theorizes, “Before you are born, you and your soul teachers decide what you’re going to come into this life to learn. We create the perfect set of circumstances, so that we can learn the lesson and usually that comes from experiencing it.”
For me, that’s rejection.
So, what better way to learn rejection than to be given up at birth and never be seen or held by my birth mother.
Then to be adopted into a nice home, but with a mother that constantly rejected my ideas and personality.
There’s my nature and my nurture right there.
Both mothers rejecting me. I learned the lesson well.
So much so, that the fear of rejection has taught me to play it safe for most of my life, to not take chances, especially on myself and with women.
And when the rejection wound is touched, man, I can go into a full blown rage. It’s very personal.
Most of my friends don’t know this about me because I dare show it, but it’s there.
My life has been consumed with anger and rage, right there below the surface, ready to explode when things don’t go the way I think they should or when I take things personally.
So, the shift from “Why does this keep happening to me?” to a place of “This is happening for me” requires a real letting go of being a victim.
I’m sick of playing that role. I don’t like it.
I don’t like feeling stuck. Taking responsibility for my own behavior has been a tough pill to swallow.
But blame has just been part of my process. I had to feel the bad things to learn the lesson. I accept my life and what’s happened “to me.”
I practice seeing things differently now. And while my knee jerk reaction might still be to react and get angry, I’m working on experiencing it as “What can I learn from this?” as opposed to “Why does this keep happening?”
The biggest thing I’ve blamed other people for is the thing I’ve wanted most in my life, to have a long relationship with a woman.
- I blamed my birth mother: I blamed the separation at birth. I reasoned that the wound of my birth mother giving me up was so deep that the fear of that ever happening again was irreparable.
- I also blamed my Mom for constantly rejecting my ideas, thus instilling low self-esteem and a fear of failure. I blamed her for making me feel I had to be perfect in order to be worthy of love.
Those two stories are true. They happened.
And while I know now that neither was intentional, they are what I was taught. They are what I believed.
That doesn’t make them true. They are my experiences, but to continue to use them in my story of “This is why I’m not getting what I want,” is pretty ridiculous.
That story has gone on for a long time. It’s time for me to take responsibility.
It’s time for me to take a look inside, at my own behaviors and patterns and start trying something different.
As I did a little review of my past relationships, one thing I was surprised to notice was how fast I’d always gone, physically.
Over and over, I could see how I jumped into bed on the first or second date. Then a month (or less) into the relationship, I’d think, “Do I even like this person?”
I can see now that reacting to my own sexual urges is pretty immature. Certainly, that pattern of behavior was a big contributor to my series of short term relationships.
I’ve taken sex lightly. I’ve gone back and forth on opposing positions, “Sex is important” vs. “It’s just sex.”
I think deep down, I’ve always thought or known that sex was important. At least, the kind of sex I have a vision of having: connected, intimate, spiritual, passionate and fun.
Up to this point, I’ve been pretty good at the passionate and fun and I’ve had glimpses of the other things. The other things are becoming more important.
Casual sex has become less and less enjoyable over the years. I long for something more.
So, my quickness to sex was the first thing I’ve had to look at. I’m more interested in taking my time now. I know that the “quick sex” road leads to confusion, unclear feelings/intentions, and short term relationships.
If for no other reason than to simply try something different, I must go slower.
It’s like the old addage, “The definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”
I also see the lack of self-control in my physical actions. I was in such a reactionary place.
Every time I felt the urge, I acted on it. I’m not saying spontaneous sex isn’t bad – I know from experience it’s very exciting – but for me, to have that be the reason the relationship starts, is no good.
Just because I have an urge doesn’t mean I need to act on it. I can just notice it and be thankful that it’s there.
That lustful feeling is good, but it’s not love. It’s certainly not “like” and it’s not friendship. It’s not respect.
So, this is why I’m going slower now. I’m taking responsibility and not blaming anyone else.
A second reason my relationships were failing was because I was looking for perfection.
As soon as I notice something negative, I’d dwell on it. Then I’d start to pull away – again, reacting. Instead of focusing on all the positive things, I dwell on the negative and think she is not the right person.
I could write a lot more on this issue, but I don’t want to stray too far off topic. The bottom line is now when I see something I perceive as a negative, I try to “play through.”
It’s just one thing about her, maybe I don’t like it so much, but I don’t have to dwell on it.
I’ve pushed away some good women in my life because of focusing on 1 or 2 perceived flaws.
The third thing I’ve realized is that in practically every other part of my life, I’m very conservative and slow to make a decision. Financially and in business, choosing friends and how I’m going to spend my time – I am thoughful. I tend to be slower to act. I don’t like to be rushed and I like to have time to do things.
And yet, here I was rushing into sex and into relationships with strangers (even if we did have a fantastic first date!)
I thought, “This isn’t me. I go slow with things. I consider things carefully. This rushing into sex isn’t congruent with who I really am.”
So, I’m making practical changes in my approach to women.
I know now that I want intimacy – emotional intimacy – with a woman. I want to feel connected and I want growth for both of us. I want a team mate, we have each other’s backs.
I still want and need to feel physically attracted, but that cannot be the leader as it has been for so long. Friendship and fun are beginning to move to the forefront.
Maybe part of this is because I’m getting older.
Maybe it’s due to my past experiences and wanting to try something different.
But one thing is clear – I’m not blaming anyone else anymore for me not getting what I want.
It still comes up, but I see it for what it is. I try to be objective and recall that this is just an old story, an old belief system, and it’s not true.
It never was. I just had to learn.
I said earlier that blame keeps us in the past. It feels good to let go of the past.
Last year, I took a cab ride and Ghana cab driver said boldly during our conversation, “The past is a prison.”
I look at my life now and I see the places where I’ve blamed others for my shortcomings. I’m glad to be moving on from that.