The Guilt, Shame, Blame Cycle

Many of us live in a cycle of guilt, shame and blame and because of our familiarity with it, we have come to identify with a presiding sense of guilt that leads us to take on enormous shame over every mistake we’ve made and we feel insecure about our worth because of it, become defensive and look for someone to blame. Then, because we don’t truly want to think or do harm, we judge ourselves for it and we feel guilty again. It’s a cycle that only ends when we choose something different for ourselves.

Choosing something different does not mean the thoughts and feelings go away. It means we see them for what they are, indicators that we are operating from an unhelpful understanding of life, so that we choose something new for ourselves rather than reliving experiences we have exhausted and are exhausted by. When we do, when old thoughts appear and old feelings resurface, we don’t get drawn in by them and if we do, it’s for less time and with less intensity.

Our thoughts have no control over us unless we believe in them and we only believe in them when we think they are telling us who we are and what we need to do and what we should have done. But these thoughts are not instructions, they are constructions and they are meaningless until we give them meaning which we only do when we don’t know we have the option not to.

Guilt, shame and blame are powerful emotions and because we feel thoughts of guilt, shame and blame so viscerally we can start to become frightened of them enough to seek ways to escape them. But we don’t need to escape them when we see that they can’t make us believe in them, they can only appear and it is we who decide what we do with them.

Thoughts of guilt, shame and blame seem believable to us because they are born of our conditioning. This doesn’t mean they are true or conveying information necessary for us to live well, it means they play into our fears and frustrations. A good reminder of this is that we don’t always take them seriously. Depending on our perspective when we they occur, we either ignore them, consider them from a standpoint of compassion and curiosity or believe them. Each approach creates a set of feelings that reflects our state of mind in the moment.

We have to get clear on who we really are in order to stop believing in every thought that runs through our minds that directs us towards investing in the conditioned self. How effective are we when we live from guilt, shame and blame? How happy and connected and clear and successful? We are designed to be well and create healthy lives. If we aren’t, we need to reconsider our position.

We feel our thinking. Not all thoughts are helpful. We get to choose what we believe in. We get to rediscover who we really are. We have the ability to change our minds. We can read our emotions as indicators of the clarity of our thinking. We can drop out of any experience we are creating and into a space of peace and wellbeing. We can choose a better way for ourselves in every moment. We can live healthy lives no matter what has come before now.

When we start to uncover who we really are, it can be helpful to say to ourselves, the conditioned self is identifying with guilty thinking right now or the conditioned self is feeling defensive, as a way of separating ourselves from habitual thoughts and feelings. We can be free of the guilt, shame, blame cycle. We can ignore thoughts that don’t guide us towards freedom and joy. We can release feelings that show us we are looking in the wrong direction: away from wellbeing and not towards it.

We can start to experience something new as soon as we know it’s an option and understand that we don’t need to be free of certain thoughts because we are free to not believe in them. We are so much more than the experience we are creating for ourselves in the moment, we are the creative force behind it, the power that brings it to life, the energy of consciousness that allows us to be aware of it. We can change the way we think and feel as soon as we start to see who we are not and allow the clarity and wellbeing that exist beneath the conditioned self to guide us.