Surely I am not the only one who has either heard this excuse, or used it, at some point in life, most likely in the days of trying to find the right relationship. I mean its simple right, take the blame and make the other person feel better because heaven forbid, we cannot upset them in the case they might then throw it back in your face, and that is a whole world of pain you just don’t want to deal with….
At some point in life the evolution of the excuse goes from “its all their fault”, to “its all my fault”… I think about how this plays out in my own home for example…”My son always seems leave his wet towel from the shower in top of his pile of dirty clothes from school and footy training in the bedroom floor Tuesday night, I have raced home from a late meeting after an early start where I did not see them that morning to sweep the kids home & through the shower much later than I would like, then while striving to get some decent dinner on the table, listen to the reading, help with the homework, call for the kids to unpack the lunch-boxes, shove a load of washing in the machine, in my rush I miss the wet towel and the dirty clothes so it stays there on the floor, unwashed. Wednesday is not dissimilar and I call for another load of washing and the pattern goes on…. until there is a need for school clean school uniform…and then it happens… he says that I never told him to take his washing out, or hang up the wet towel, besides he did all the other things I told him to … and then I make excuses that I am so busy I should not have to tell him everything he needs to do… he should know by now… but he is only a kid… he isn’t responsible for ensuring all the washing is done… so it is my fault”… Damn mother’s guilt, my mother said to me when he was born ” welcome to feeling mothers guilt, once you have it, it never leaves”… and I think she was right!
Having just spent the morning with a friend and colleague discussing all manner of professional and personal progressions through life, and of course attempting to solve all of our first world problems in one coffee date… I was still left with one glaring question… why is it so much easier to blame ourselves than it is to accept that another persons opinion or belief, action or in-action is just their’s, its not your fault… When did “its not you, its me” become reality?
Let’s look at how this works when it comes to exercise… “I just didn’t have time for exercise this week, the clothes that I packed in the car for me to get to the gym to do my workout are still in the car unused and its Friday, I threw them in the car Monday as I raced off to work… this week has been so busy that the evenings come and go, all I want to do is come home have a wine and sit down and relax… but I am so frustrated that I don’t go, I could set my alarm earlier but I am just not a morning person, I should go while my son is at footy training and get my hubby to bring him home… besides I hate the gym and all those fit perky people, and I hate the way I look in those mirror’s, I shouldn’t have bought that membership it was a waste of money… it’s my fault “
In both cases its easier to load the blame on myself than it is to go up against it and initiate the change. Its easier to make ourselves feel bad, guilty, not good enough than it is to do what we need to make ours and others lives better. Somewhere in there we have made the call…”its not you, its me…” because you don’t want it to deal with it at the time, its just easier that way…and lets face it life can difficult at the best of times, so why make it harder?
The issue is that when we do this… when we make this excuse, we giving ourselves a reason to NOT look for a solution. Someone once said to me…”the only person who believes your excuses is you”.. and it hit me like a hang-over after too much wine on Friday night… who are we really making these excuses for? And who is benefitting from them? Certainly NOT you! And certainly not them… all you are doing is allowing yourself to be less than your best self and you are role modeling that to others. We are showing them and telling ourselves that we are not deserving of living life the way we want it, of being our best self, of being healthy and happy.
So, I have taken some steps that seems to help me… now don’t get me wrong, like my mum said ” mother’s guilt doesn’t just disappear… but we can help ourselves move away from blame. Try it if you like… you must take the action & not just think about it to ensure that this does … you might be pleasantly surprised.
Most days I write down what I need to get done ( yes I am a list maker… don’t judge me)… and I know a lot of people do the same… But at the top of my list I write the one thing that is the most important to my being healthy and happy… its the NON-NEGOTIABLE , my MUST DO…and then I give everything else a time frame in the day… because if I get that done I know if will have more energy, feel better about myself, I will most likely get more of my to do list done, I will procrastinate less, and it will positively influence everything else I do in the day, especially my mood…. and that is where the beauty lies.
Exercise is scientifically proven to lift mood due to it’s effect on the Hippocampus in the brain, it increases the volume of our pre-frontal cortex and creates change at a cellular level so this can, overtime become more permanent ( the reason why all the perky people at the gym are so damn perky!!!)… it reduces cortisol – our stress hormone which runs riot across multiple physiological processes including energy production, hunger, satiety and our reproductive hormones… it reduces our chances chronic illness and disease, it improves our sleep patterns, it produces endorphins that elevate mood so we can stress less, feel good more of the time, have more energy, be better decision makers, and have better memories … so the the guilt that we so often place on ourselves is less likely to impact us on a physiological and psychological level…if we stop making excuses for ourselves and find a SOLUTION.
So today, I will lift myself off the bottom of the priority list… I will help BE the solution, and NOT the excuse… I will role model to my loved ones that I am important and that I do deserve to live life happy and healthy… I will because “its not you, it’s me”…