Monday, March 26, 2018
You HAVE to Stop Blaming Yourself!
Has there been something in your life- whether big or small, recent or years ago- that you have just downright BLAMED yourself for? Something that you haven't quite been able to let go of and forgive yourself for? If so, keep reading! I will try to keep this story as short as possible, but I want to give you enough information that you will fully understand it...
When I was in the 4th grade (I'm 30 now) my then-best friend and I were inseparable. I do not want to state her name, so we will just call her "Sarah." (If you are reading this and you figure out who "Sarah" really is, I ask that you please not mention her name.) Well "Sarah" and I were always together - riding 4wheelers, hiking in the woods, listening to music, singing, dancing, doing "experiments", playing video games, jumping on the trampoline, messing around with her Grandpa's guitar, playing "Dr. Dreadful's Zombie Lab," drinking our famous Dr. Pepper & Orange soda concoction, talking about boys, and visiting her 2 sweet sweet Grandmothers.
"Sarah" wasn't that great academically and her Grandmother (who she stayed with after school until her Father got home from work) wouldn't allow us to play, of course, until all homework was done. So me being a straight-A student, I gladly helped her with her homework. As time went on, however, she seemed to struggle more & more with her homework and we had less & less time to do fun stuff after school.
Well you may be guessing about what happened next...and if you're guessing that I started doing her homework for her, you'd be correct. Of course I knew that it was wrong, but the amount of play-time we were losing and, most importantly, the insane frustration that I had to watch my best friend deal with daily over not "getting it" and being able to do her homework was obviously enough for me to just cave in and do it anyway.
Sooo I began doing her homework just about every evening, which gave us plenty of time to go have fun. But guess what happened next? No one could understand why she was acing her homework assignments but failing everything at school. After putting 2-and-2 together, of course, they figured out what was going on...so she was held back in the fourth grade. (If you're thinking this is the end of my story and that I suffered with guilt and shame over this, trust me, it gets worse...so keep reading.)
"Sarah" was held back in the fourth grade and I went on to fifth. We were still at the same school, but were now in different buildings. This, unfortunately, meant that we rarely seen one-another and she became friends with her new classmates. We quickly went from being inseparable to going our separate ways & never speaking.
After years of not speaking, "Sarah" died in a car accident in 2009, at the age of 21. The guilt I felt for doing her homework for her and causing her to fail a grade was amplified x100 the moment I got the news. If I hadn't have been doing her homework for her, she may not have failed. If she wouldn't have failed, we may not have lost touch. If we hadn't lost touch, she may not have been acquainted with the person who was driving at the time of their accident (I did not know this person but he also lost his life in this accident.) So if they were not acquainted, she may still be here today....
Some of you (most, probably) may think I'm crazy for blaming myself for all of that. But the truth is, I just recently forgave myself for it... over 8 years after the accident and roughly 20 years after her being held back in the fourth grade.
If you know me at all, you know that I talk a lot about forgiveness and grace. I often share the importance of forgiving others, if not for them- at least for yourself...and how holding resentment & UN-forgiveness in your heart will ruin your life and eat at you like a cancer. But the truth is, I had never really applied it to forgiving yourself (myself,) which is just as important. The guilt you feel for blaming yourself for something will also eat at you and ruin your life.
So whatever your story is, your self-blame/guilt story...Whether it's a "what-if" kinda story, like mine, or something that occurred that you were the obvious/direct cause of..you have to forgive yourself. You have to move on. Ask God to forgive you (there is nothing so horrible that God will not forgive you for, if you are truly sorry), ask the others involved to forgive you- if possible, and then forgive yourself. We can't go back and change the past. We can't keep tearing ourselves down with the thoughts of "what if" and "maybe." We have to just let it go. We have to move on. Don't allow yourself to drown in a puddle of blame. If I can do it, so can you...I believe in you! <3
If you found value in this post or know someone who struggles with blame & guilt, please share this post with them. If my story helps just one person, talking about it will have been worth it to me...