We’ve all been there: someone does something wrong and, somehow, we end up taking the blame for it. Owning up to your mistakes is a powerful way to live your life. Yet many people refuse to do so because it would mean admitting they were ‘wrong.’
When you get blamed for something that you didn’t really do, here’s how to handle the situation gracefully:
1. Distance Yourself from the Situation
When a person is in a ‘fight-or-flight’ mode, their filter for not insulting or emotionally hurting others is just as missing as their common sense. One way to defend yourself is by offending somebody else. In this case, if you’re the one who’s being offended, try to understand where the other person is coming from.
It’s important to distance yourself from the situation, or else you’ll get drawn into the emotional intensity of it. Instead of thinking about ways to defend yourself or what to say back to hurt the other person, take a look at them and truly see what motivates their behavior. Then tell them that you really need to have a break and you’ll talk to them when you’re both calmer.
2. Get in Touch with Your Feelings
If somebody accuses you of something, chances are you’re going to feel anger, shame, sadness, or despair. Some of my clients, who are more sensitive to their body sensations, have told me that their chest gets tighter and their hands and feet get colder the second the feeling of guilt or shame comes up in their mind.
Bottling up such feelings may have serious health side effects. If they can cause sensations like these in seconds, just imagine what they can do to your body if you keep them there for hours or days.
Happily, there is a quick way to feel that negative sensation in your body and move on with your life with more compassion towards yourself and others:
Sit down for 10 minutes and take a couple of long, deep breaths. If your mind is racing, try zooming out and watching it from a distance. What thoughts are you having? Is there a story about the person blaming you or is it more focused on your own feelings of shame and inadequacy? Are you feeling negative sensations in your body? Where is it? Feel it, put your hand on it, breathe through it, and let it go.
If you feel like crying, cry. If you feel like screaming, scream. Trust your inner wisdom and don’t hold any emotions back. Once you let go of the tension in your body, open your eyes and ground yourself back in reality. Take a mindful look at your surroundings, watch everything without judgment and forgive yourself and the other person for your destructive behavior earlier. Then you can go back to your talk.
I’ve made an audio guided meditation to help you out even further. You can listen to it here any time you’re having difficulty getting in touch with your feelings.
3. Spot the Pattern
Does this often happen to you? Do you have to deal with groundless blame and accusations from others on daily basis?
This may be a sign that you have weak boundaries. If you abandon yourself regularly and don’t stand your ground, people, especially the more assertive types, will get the feeling that they can walk all over you. And they will test your limits to confirm that that’s the case.
If you don’t want that to be the case, you need to trust yourself more. A good way to start is to develop self-compassion, here’s how:
The next time you do something ‘wrong’, you feel ‘weak’ or you stamp any other negative label on yourself, take a look at what you’re saying and realize that’s your own mind talking to itself. You’ve probably suffered from trauma in the past, but it doesn’t have to define who you are or who you want to become in the future.
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Self-compassion is the first step, but it’s definitely easier said than done. If you need my help, you know where to find me.
Sending you all my love,