Yesterday I told you I like asking myself “How is this my fault?” because it helps my brain find solutions that I alone can implement, without having to rely on anyone else to change. It gives me all my power back. If I had to wait around for my kids to love doing their chores before I could feel better, I fear I would be waiting for a very long time.
There are two very important steps you must implement before using this tool. First, you must love yourself unconditionally. You are completely worthy, good, capable, lovable and amazing EXACTLY as you are. There is nothing you can do or not do that will change that. This is NOT just one more thing you can use to beat yourself up.
In fact, I’m going to go ahead and insist that you never beat yourself up again. Ever. Decide right now. Make a commitment to yourself right now in this moment that you’re done with that.
When I say “How is this my fault?” I’m not blaming myself, berating myself or beating up on myself. I’m simply asking my brain to get creative and find some solutions for me so I can get the results I want. I’m taking responsibility for the results in my life, not for other people’s behavior.
If you ask yourself that question and you feel shame or self loathing, don’t ask yourself that question. You may just not have learned to love yourself enough yet. There was a time when I beat the crap out of myself all the time and this question might not have worked for me. Today it works great because I love myself unconditionally and no longer believe anything is wrong with me.
It could also just be a question that doesn’t resonate with you. Humans brains are so fascinating. What totally resonates with one person may not resonate at all with another.
In coaching, we talk about trying on new thoughts, like a new pair of clothes. You have to see how it feels for you. If it doesn’t feel good, by all means, throw it out. You may just need to reword it to something like “What can I do that could help this situation?”
When I ask that, my brain is like “Nothing! You’ve done everything!” And then I’m stuck again. When I ask “How is this my fault?” my brain finds much more creative solutions because it looks at everything in a different way.
Your brain could be completely opposite. There isn’t a wrong way or a right way. There’s only the way that helps your specific brain. Play around with different wording and see what feels right.
The second thing you must understand is that what someone else does or says has NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU. You can’t take responsibility for someone else’s behavior. It isn’t about you. It’s about them. Let’s say my hubby is angry with me and tells me it’s because I didn’t do something. That’s still not about me. It seems like it’s about me, but it’s not. He’s not mad because of what I did or didn’t do. He’s mad because of what he’s thinking about it. I can’t control that. I could be the most perfect wife in the world and he could still choose to think I’m horrible. I could be a pretty crappy wife and he could choose to think I’m wonderful. No matter what he chooses to think about me, positive or negative, it’s about him. A different husband may see the exact same circumstance, think completely different thoughts, and have a completely different experience.
We can’t control other people. So when I ask myself “How is this my fault?” I know someone else’s behavior is not my fault. I could be the best mom in the world and my kids may still behave horribly. They have agency. They get to choose. And we can’t control that.
But I do get to control my results. So “How is this fault?” doesn’t mean how is this person’s behavior my fault? It means how is my current result my fault? For example, if my number one goal is to have peace and harmony in my home, and the chores are currently causing yelling and contention, I could hire someone to clean my house. That’s not taking responsibility for my kid’s behavior, it’s taking responsibility for my results.
Your brain might be rebelling right now. I don’t have money to hire someone! It’s not fair that the kids can act like that and then get out of doing chores! The kids will never learn responsibility! Our brains don’t like us to change. They like to do things the same way they’ve always done them. When you try to change, your brain is going to throw a little fit.
In those moments I just say “Calm down brain. I hear you. It’s going to be fine.”
Here’s the bottom line: I choose my results. I am not a victim to my circumstances or to the people around me. When I truly understand that, I realize I can whatever life I want. And when I ask my brain empowering questions, I find that it comes up with all sorts of creative answers that I may have never considered before.
When I ask myself “How is this my fault?” I do so with unconditional love for myself. I’m not beating myself up over my children’s behavior. I’m not making it mean anything about me or about the kind of mom I am. I’m not blaming myself. I know I can’t control them and they get to choose how to behave. But it is my fault if I continue to live this way; if I decide to be a victim.
This is worth repeating: If you ask yourself “How is this my fault?” and you feel shame or self-loathing… don’t use this question yet. Practice loving yourself unconditionally. Remember that you aren’t taking responsibility for anyone else’s choices, just your own results.
I know some of you are going to the extremes so I’m going to address this tomorrow. If my husband hit me, that wouldn’t be my fault. It has nothing to do with me. It’s completely about him. And because I love myself, I would then decide what I was going to do about it. We’ll talk about boundaries tomorrow!