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Responsibility vs Self-blame

When I was in the midst of my relationship anxiety, I was trying everything in my control to get better and figure out why I felt the way I did.


So, when the things I was trying didn’t alleviate my constant anxiety, it made me feel really disheartened and depressed. It made me want to give up on the best and healthiest relationship I ever had and at times, if I am honest, on myself too.


I was trying really hard to take responsibility for how I felt. And, don’t get me wrong, taking responsibility for ourselves and trying to be proactive in seeking solutions to the problems we face internally and/or externally, is a good thing. But only when you approach it with the right mindset.


Back then I was equating taking responsibility for myself with blaming myself for how I felt.


Taking responsibility for yourself isn’t the same thing as blaming yourself.


Let me explain.


In my example, instead of seeking to work constructively with my anxiety, I was trying to control an outcome (stop feeling anxious) with controlling behaviours towards myself (‘forcing’ myself to meditate, methodically taking my herbal supplements etc).


I was also taking on more than what was actually mine. By that, I mean being so constantly self-aware about the things I was doing that were contributing to my anxiety, that I forget about the actual things around me that were also contributing to it.


I was approaching taking responsibility for myself as beating myself with a stick to force myself to ‘get better’.


This is something I see time and time again in my coaching practice: too often we equate taking responsibility for ourselves, with picking up a stick and beating ourselves with it to make sure we keep moving towards our end goal.


The truth is the intention and mindset with which we approach the actions toward the end-goal are often more important than the actions themselves.


When clients set themselves goals or objectives but fail to achieve them they often: