Growth through personal awareness

I've been noticing how much people blame others, especially for their feelings.

It can be very challenging to really take ownership of our feelings, hence why at times it may be easier to blame another for our uncomfortable feelings.

However, in not really owning our feelings we are doing ourselves a disservice, not only by dismissing the very experiences that could help us to heal from our wounds, but we are also likely to be causing ourselves and others further suffering.

Rather than put the blame on another, it would be more authentic and honest to say 'I feel... angry', for example. In this scenario, the feeling is a messenger that identifies there is a part within that is angry; the words/actions/behaviour we see in another simply brought that to the surface. The fact that we had anger within us that was brought to the surface, however, is not another's fault. Our emerging feelings say less about the other and more about what's going on for us.

The other is unlikely to be pushing our buttons with the intention to purposefully cause us pain and suffering. No-one could even push our buttons if they weren't there in the first place. So perhaps we can embrace our buttons for what they really are - connections to a wound from the past that has surfaced in the present.

Interestingly, not only can we place the responsibility for our emotions on others in terms of anger, frustration, resentment etc - we can do the same with joy and happiness too.

If we blame another for our anger, frustration, resentment etc, and if we haven't made friends with or healed that part of ourselves, it is likely that on some level we are going to be pushing that person away as if they are the cause of those uncomfortable feelings.

Equally, if we prize the other for our happiness and joy, or if we haven't managed to find out how to fulfil that need within ourselves, we may, on some level, to want to keep that person close. In order to maintain the feelings we perceive the other to be giving, it could even result in us limiting their lives in order to fulfil that need.

While separating feelings out above as I have, this is not to say this is how it would fall into place for you. Indeed, some may for example find happiness an uncomfortable feeling to sit with.

What I invite you to consider is that the people we struggle with the most are actually our greatest teachers. Not only does the experience with the other identify where a wound is, but it also affords us the opportunity to notice and pay attention to that part of ourselves.

By taking ownership of our feelings and keeping hold of what they are revealing to us we can, instead of trying to force them back onto the other with blame, use the awareness of the surfacing emotion to do some inner healing work on ourselves.

  • What wounds are currently surfacing for you?
  • Can you take personal responsibility to use the experience to heal through?
  • Can you offer compassion to yourself and others through the process?

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Maidenhead SL6 & Berks RG1
Written by Maria Whyte, Dip (Couns) MBACP
Maidenhead SL6 & Berks RG1

I am a person centred counsellor and a mental health champion for a local authority. I have a Counselling Diploma and regularly attend training courses to continue my own personal growth. Working with mental health is my passion, my purpose and a privilege.

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