Moving from Self-Blame to Self-Responsibility

April 13, 2018


Photo by Gabrielle Greenberg, clothing by Iðunn





I’ve shared about the power of forgiveness before. This is nothing new for me, as I’ve spent years working with the judgement I had on myself for ways I acted in the past. For the ways others had treated me. I took the pain I felt from rejection and internalized it. I then devoted myself to improvement, to the healing journey, to bettering myself through various emotional and physical tools that I now see began as coping mechanism from the trauma of rejection I faced throughout my early years. 


Whoosh. Heavy as that may sound, it is truly as light in reality. It simply IS, and I can now  let it be just that.


Here's the thing - we all experience rejection and some form of misunderstanding from others. We’re all let down from time to time. I believe this can be a healthy way to self-reflect and see where it is that our inner self is not in alignment with what we are projecting out into the world. But as all things, this can be taken too far - and many of us who want to be in self responsibility are actually in self blame, playing out the role of victim or martyr with the way we treat ourselves.


A few weeks ago, a vision was coming to me of a woman (a Goddess perhaps she is, but that title seems non-human and I want to show her absolute humanity) that willingly peeled off her skin and threw it into a void swirling around her. This may sound gruesome, but she was smiling. She was not holding on to the parts of herself that were in constant self judgement. She was not pretending that self blame is a means of spiritual liberation. Instead, she danced with her new, fresh, tender skin as she fully released the aspect of herself that was clinging to a sense of identity with her wounded skin.


This vision stayed with me as I recently began to uncover the places I was clinging to an identity that I had long outgrown. The more I uncover about the power of forgiveness, the more I see that there’s a subtle gradient of shame that can weave itself through the healing process when we are not fully committed to letting go of what we have blamed ourselves for.


Self forgiveness and healing does not require a long standing vow of indulging the inner critic. In order for the energy of forgiveness to penetrate our skin deep enough for it to be shed, it only needs a willingness on our part to Let Go and release the blame we have placed on ourselves - and move into a place of self responsibility.


Easier said than done.


Our wounds, especially those of rejection, imperfection and misunderstanding, like to cling to us like sap. But at some point, the wound heals, and it no longer leaks the protective sap it has become accustomed to producing.


This is where most of us get stuck. We identify with our wounding without actually releasing it when the time comes to let it go. When we’ve long learned the lessons we were meant to from that time. Instead, we dwell in it subconsciously, while consciously believing that we are being humble, convincing ourselves that we are supposed to feel the shame of what we have done or what has been done to us.


No wonder so many of us have headaches. This energy just wants to be LET GO OF. 


That somehow, by feeling “regret” and continuing to bring awareness to our imperfections, we are taking responsibility for our actions and holding ourselves accountable.


This could not be further from the truth.


From those of us on a spiritual healing journey from emotional trauma, there can be a belief that by taking ownership of our wounds, we become more lovable. I see this as a trap because it encourages us to further identify with our wounds, when in reality, we are powerful humans that were born to be forgiven, to forgive ourselves, and to forgive one another with no strings attached.


By blaming or shaming ourselves, even slightly, in moments that our wounding comes out, we negate the beautiful healing that is available to us. Self responsibility is about loving ourselves, entirely and fully, without identifying with or taking our wounds too seriously (after the initial traumas have been worked through, fully processed and grieved) that they become a permanent fixture of our day to day life.


The message of this particular feminine energy in my vision was that of radical enjoyment, ecstasy, in the process of her own surface level death. In the emotional expression of joy and radical release, she was in complete self responsibility for the need to renew herself. She was exuding a healthy response of “yes, I have done wrong, I have made mistakes” (even if they were just “silly” things that built up enough for the inner critic to take hold) -  “but I claim that I have a right to renew myself and dance to the tune of self forgiveness without holding on.”


Moving from self blame to self responsibility requires a commitment to seeing the part that you played, but expanding your vision wide enough to see that in actuality, there is no blame to be had. We all must become accountable for the ways our actions impact others by seeing that every one of us is capable of ‘wrongdoing’. In this place, we become a part of the whole.


But once we acknowledge that there is darkness in ourselves, too, we do not need to linger there or approach life from that place.


It is no longer time to indulge the martyr within that loves to be in separation.


Living in authentic self responsibility is about releasing and letting go of the judgement we have for the skin of shame that may form over us from time to time. Nobody is perfect, and nobody is fully healed - this is not the goal of any liberating path. However, the desire to be often plays out in a self abusive trajectory that leads to more isolation and further confusion of who we truly are.


And that, my loves, is no longer the world we are co-creating and living into. We are entering a time when the martyr must be integrated into a service of the Self. A commitment to living a life of radical emotional acceptance and blame free self expression. We are the one's peeling off our own skin and allowing ourselves to enjoy the process. We are Sovereign in our right to experience life without the inner critic taking over. Because nobody is perfect. Nobody is fully healed. And we are all in this together.

So why not, next time you find yourself in a pattern of self blame or forgiving everyone else but yourself, choose self responsibility instead?


Do a ritual like this and look yourself in the eyes as you come home to yourself.


You are worthy of living without the wound of not being enough.


Choose to show up for the ways that you are ready and worthy of receiving love without identifying with the fear you have of the way things have turned out in the past.


Channel the S/he within you that sheds her skin in an act of devotion to ecstasy.


Lose the blame, but don’t lose yourself.


You are never going to be fully healed or fully perfect, so why try? Why pressure yourself to be? Let that revelation be as inspiring and igniting as the greatest release you’ve ever experienced. For there is no pressure, my dear, to be anything other than the slightly imperfect, endlessly beautiful, whole-ly enough Self you have denied for far too long.


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​© 2019 by Emma Amara Elisabeth