“You are responsible for your life. You can't keep blaming somebody else for your dysfunction. Life is really about moving on.” — Oprah Winfrey
Have you ever wondered what is the point of life?
I have. I used to be miserable.
I saw life as a charade. I felt like the life I was living was meaningless.
I'd look at the people around me and wonder if they also felt the same but was just too afraid to talk about it.
I certainly was. I didn't want people to judge me.
But the more I pretended like I was okay and shoved my negative emotions away, the more miserable I felt.
“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.” — Sigmund Freud
You see growing up I was expected to be perfect, to keep anything unpleasant that's going on in my life to myself and to figure things out on my own.
Sure, my parents were around.
But when I tried talking to them, they unintentionally made me feel like my problems were small.
So after awhile I just ended up keeping things to myself.
I started to believe that I had to figure things out on my own. That it was not safe to be vulnerable because people will think that I am weak. To be loved and to feel significant I needed to get good grades and be perfect.
This impacted my life.
When it came to making decisions I lived in a place of fear of not being good enough so always played it safe. When it came to relationships I had a hard time trusting people and letting people fully into my life. I was afraid of disappointing others and being the one who was disappointed if things didn't turn out the way I expected. It was a vicious circle. What made me more miserable was playing the game of compare and despair.
So I blamed my parents for how miserable I felt in my life. If they would have:
- Gave me the attention I wanted
- Validated me
- Gave me their time of day
- Listened and not dismissed my trivial problems
- Not picked me apart and be so hard to please
My life would have been different.
The truth is it may have been different, but I am sure I would have still found something or someone else in my life to blame for whatever pain that was going on in my life.
Tony Robbins who is the master of helping transform people's lives, talks about not living your life in a story of blame where you have no control. Instead if you are going to blame — “blame consciously and effectively.”
This resonated with me because when I was at my rock bottom, my parents recognized they needed to let go of their expectations to free me from living out the expectations they've set out for me.
They saw how unhappy I was and told me to do whatever I needed to, to get happy.
When they did this, I realized I no longer had an excuse anymore. I couldn't blame them anymore. For the first time I felt like a weight lifted off my shoulder. And I became conscious that I couldn't use the story I've been telling myself anymore as an excuse.
At the heart of it, my parents have set me free by taking responsibility for their actions. This was a turning point in my life.
It made me realize it was also time for me to step up and take responsibility for myself.
In retrospect, I know they did their best in raising my sister and I based on their own cultural and societal constructs. For them being a good parent was to ensure our basic needs were met and that we had the opportunity to go to university.
Taking Tony Robbins advice, instead of blaming them for all the negatives, I started to look for the positives. Because of them, I developed my strength, tenacity and independence. Because of them, they re-ignited my hunger and passion for life again, expanding my awareness of self, giving me the opportunity to follow my bliss.
So if you want to blame, start blaming effectively. See the reality from a third person perspective. Take into account what's going on in their lives before making an assumption and expecting them to react exactly as you would like them to.
Ask yourself, how are you playing a role in creating the pain in your life?
How can you blame more effectively?
How will the pain enable you to grow as a person?
Don't wait for someone to give you the permission to find happiness. You have the power to free yourself from your pain by giving a different meaning to your past stories now.