I love the film Good Will Hunting, with the late Robin Williams and Matt Damon and there is an outstanding scene in it that gets me every time. Four simple words are used: It’s not your fault. There is so much power in these words and over the past few years, since I started my mission to normalise the taboo conversations, they have found a new and stronger meaning for me. I hear a lot of stories. Stories of people blaming themselves, sometimes for years, over events that happened that were NOT their fault.
Self-blame and self-criticism are learned behaviours, perhaps from a critical parent, teacher, friend, or family member. Words are powerful and we all have the ability to build someone up or drag them down. I watch people and each day I contemplate triggers. Words can be triggers. They can also be used to uplift and inspire. My Monday mojo started off perfectly yesterday, when I got to meet and hear Jaz Ampaw- Farr speak alongside a room packed with teachers. Her story could be viewed as a tragedy of abuse, neglect and poverty. Instead, she shared deeply with regards to the life-altering impact a handful of everyday heroes had on her life. My heart broke as she shared her story of what she went through as a child but she left us feeling empowered and energised. She left me wanting to be an even better Mum to my kids. She inspired me to keep working hard to spread kindness and create content that lights people up.
Children are vulnerable to blame, anger and criticism because they don’t have a strong sense of self. It is so easy for them to base their self-worth on what others tell them. So, if you were repeatedly told ‘you’re worthless’ you probably grew up believing it. Our issues are not a competition and we all have stuff to deal with. These feelings that we bottle up and refuse to process can prevent us from living a life we love and connecting with people on a deeper level. We all desperately need connections. We need to be able to talk and share without a fear of being judged. People are incredible, one thing that running a podcast has reminded me is that people want to help and many are prepared to push the ego aside and share deeply in order to help others. This helps us to connect and build solid relationships.
We also need time out to connect with ourselves so that we can start to set ourselves free from the issues that we carry that no longer serve us. Freedom to let it all go and move on to happier times. That sounds great right? I’ll quote the words that Jaz shared with me after her talk yesterday which you can find here –
‘We all have issues that need resolved. You can choose not to process any of your own trauma. But you can’t choose that and then have a fulfilled life. It’s one or the other. You get to choose and believe me it’s harder but it’s thee most fulfilling thing in the world. I feel free.’
Is it time to set yourself free from something? Go easy on yourself. It’s not your fault.