Taking Responsibility: Moving from Shame into Acceptance
Last week I created a post about owning your shit, and about how reversed court cards in a Tarot reading can indicate a lack of self-awareness. (Read it here.)
However, I have found over and over again that making the leap from being aware of your not-so-perfect actions to taking responsibility for those actions is an incredibly difficult leap for many to make.
Because of the incredibly destructive force of one emotion: Shame.
Many people mistake feeling ashamed for taking responsibility. But in actuality, this destructive emotion only create a distraction. Taking real responsibility involves acceptance, self-love and understanding.
Consider the act of taking responsibility as a ball flying through the air. You’ve lined yourself up just right to catch it, it’s falling into your hands and then—ouch! It hurts to touch it! You drop it.
Shame is the hot, prickly layer covering that ball. Shame provokes inner voices that tell you your actions determine your worth, that it was all your fault, that there is something inherently wrong with you, that you are bad, not good enough, unworthy, or unlovable.
To hold the ball, you gotta somehow peel away these painful outside layers. But how do you do that without injuring yourself in the process?
The key is knowing where those outside layers come from. You may be tempted to throw the ball back, and blame the person for throwing you such an awful mess. But in actuality, when the ball was thrown to you, it wasn’t covered in a hot prickly layer—that was only added when you came near it.
Yep—you added the layer of shame yourself.
The awful voices of shame stem from deep, old wounds, often from your childhood, and those wounds get triggered when the ball of your not-so-perfect actions comes near.
Knowing that your inner child has difficulty with responsibility is the first step. Separating her experience from your current adult experience is the second step. You don’t want your inner-child running the show. You are so much bigger, wiser and more mature than that.
It is possible to separate the responsibility of the moment with the shame of yesterday.
To do so, you must add another layer of self-awareness and compassion. One that is directed towards your inner child and all her wounds. One that is made of self-love.
Moving out of shame into taking responsibility is about accepting all three components of the moment, as imperfect as they each are. There is your current adult self that deserves love, there is your inner child that deserves love, and there is the other person whom you may have hurt, who also deserves love. None any less worthy than the other.
If you are ready to look deeper into your own actions, and the roots of your pain and injuries, consider my new Tarot reading on Healing the Inner Child.