It is human nature to look for reasons, explanations or causes for why things occur in our lives. We tend to assume that if we can just identify the reason our heartache or problem that occurred, we will find peace. Unfortunately, this reasoning leads to an internal struggle that can haunt us and steal our ability to think through an issue and to find the finality we’re searching for.
Many times the problem is not the problem but the way we are coping with the problem. Our incessant drive to discover ‘why’ leads us to blame and we facilitate between blaming internally or externally; either we blame ourselves, calling ourselves names, beating our own self-esteem into oblivion or we blame others, our circumstances or conditions in life. This relentless ‘beating’ leads to thinking in circles with no resolution and more frustration on our part.
Blaming ourselves or others makes us powerless: powerless to move on, to take control of our lives and to live in the present. I often ask clients to imagine for a moment how they would feel if they took blame out of the situation.
I suggest that they may always go back to the ‘blame’ but to allow themselves to visualise the problem without it and then ask themselves how it feels. Most of the time the client is able to create this in their mind even if it’s only for a few moments. The exercise usually results in a sense of peace, an insight that occurs rapidly and quickly.
We suddenly find our power and a sense of relief occurs deciding not to blame ourselves or others. We are no longer a victim, no longer unworthy and no longer stuck. By refusing to blame we become free. This, of course, doesn’t mean we don’t feel sad or disappointed but regret and indecision are now alleviated. We no longer struggle with that particular problem any longer but move to the present allowing the past to be just that, the past.
By trying this quick and simple exercise we find or rediscover self-love and compassion for our humanness. The amount of compassion we allow ourselves is projected to others and only through this gift to ourselves do we find the serenity and tranquillity that is needed to heal a wound.
I believe that believes that each individual has the unique ability to find within themselves solutions to problems and enhances the individual to discover these solutions.
We have to embrace the imperfect life. People make mistakes; so sometimes it is good to force ourselves not to care. Do things carelessly and laugh at the mess you made (works better if you have good friends that won’t judge you and laugh with you). You will make mistakes, but don’t let them define who you are, don’t let them prompt you to hate yourself. And when it seems that I can find no solution to a problem I remember to try this mantra: ‘Stand powerfully for yourself by refusing to blame. May we all find peace.’
Carla Risener Bresnahan is a licensed mental health therapist in private practice and lives in Orlando, Florida. Carla worked with local companies who lost an employee at the Pulse shooting in 2016.