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Guilt, Blame, and Shame

by Hyapatia Lee 5 years ago in advice / humanity / mental health
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These three emotions form a triangle that keeps us from smoothly rolling down the highway of life by trapping us in the past.

Guilt, blame, and shame have only one genuine purpose and that is to lead us to better choices. They should not be used as weapons in the lives of other adults. We need to use these tools in positive ways, not negative ones. When we feel these emotions, they should spur us into evolution. Once these new modalities have been adopted, these three emotions are totally useless and must be abandoned. The only time they should be used again is if we are tempted to slide back into negative behavior. It is senseless to feel guilt over an activity we have long ago abandoned, beating ourselves up over it. The lesson has already been learned. The behavior has been changed. There is no reason to continue to feel guilty over a past that cannot be changed and from which we have learned to do better. We must abandon the guilt as we no longer have a use for it and allow ourselves to move out of the past and into the present.

When we realize what is to blame for our discomfort and we have removed the cause, there is no need for guilt or shame. To continue to place blame on an external influence is to live in the past which gives away our control over the present. If another event or person is responsible for an unpleasant situation, use the energy of the emotion it brings up to put a stop to it in a positive fashion. Remove the person who is holding you back from your life. If it is not a person but an event, find a way to be victorious over the temporary setback. Once you are on the road to an indomitable life, let go of the need to place blame on anyone or anything. Blame can be a trap. If we blame another for an event, we could easily blame ourselves for being involved with that person in the first place. If an unforeseen event is the cause of our unhappiness, we could blame others for putting us in that situation, or even ourselves for allowing us to be influenced by those same others. We can chase our tail around the circle of blame for the rest of our life, but that would be quite a waste of time and subsequently, our life.

Shame is how we feel when we know we have done something we regret. We are embarrassed by our actions and afraid others will know of our transgressions and judge us for them. We feel we deserve very harsh treatment and fear others will concur. If we no longer are doing the shameful act, this emotion keeps us embedded in the past. It ignores the strides we have made in overcoming behavior we are embarrassed about and denies us the pride we deserve to feel for this accomplishment. It is like an old record that is played in our heads every now and then. It should have been broken long ago so that we could hear our victory march instead.

Anxiety, fear, and hatred often are rooted in guilt, blame, and shame. We are anxious that our actions will bring us shame and that others will blame us for our inadequacies. We are afraid circumstances will prevent us from achieving our goals and that others will cause us pain. We blame these circumstances and other people for keeping us in our unhappy situation. This is how fear can be rooted in blame. Instead, it would be wiser to address our fears by preparing for the possibilities we dread, yet forging ahead with courage. We often hate those who have shamed us in the past, whether it was deserved or not. This may cause an avoidance of a similar situation even though our inner children would very much like to have this experience again. Our hatred is rooted in the shame we felt over a behavior that has long ago been abandoned. The fear of shame has kept us from enjoying life to its fullest.

We must rise above such earthly constraints as unproductive and obsolete guilt, blame and shame to develop to a point where we are capable of seeing the grander picture. We have to be wise enough to realize that karma and the evolutionary process of the soul play a major role in our lives. We all evolve in this life as we learn better ways of doing things and treating other people. We learn that everyone is doing the best they are capable of at any given point in time and that we all have our own viewpoints on life based on our personal experiences.

advicehumanitymental health

About the author

Hyapatia Lee

Hyapatia Lee is the founder of Native Strength, a Native American path to emotional strength and enlightenment based on a centuries-old inter-tribal system.

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