“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.” ~ Carl Gustav Jung
I grew up in a financially turbulent home. My mom raised my sisters and me as a single mother. She lived paycheck to paycheck, often gathering coins from underneath couch cushions to buy food or other necessities as her money ran out mid-week.
It wasn’t easy for her– paying rent, supporting three kids with little outside support and working full-time, but she did it.
My father left when I was two. I often fantasized as a child about what he was like and why he left. Sometimes I wondered if he was alive at all, as my mother never talked about him. Overall, I was a happy child. My sisters and I were highly imaginative and loved playing outside, getting dirty and being with our friends. It wasn’t until we were in middle school that I started to realize we weren’t like other families around us.
There were times we went without heat and hot water for months at a time. There were times we collected food for our meals from a local church. But, the reality is my mom did the best she could at that time in her life and my sisters and I knew that.
As I grew into a teenager, I rebelled against my life’s circumstances. I was angry and resentful. Why was I poor? Why did I have to be born into a broken, struggling family? Why did my dad leave? All of these things snowballed into me making excuses to drink, skip school and sink into deep depression. Ultimately, I blamed my circumstances for my unhappiness and in turn, I disempowered myself.
By the time I was 17 I hit my own rock bottom. I was kicked out of school because my mom could no longer afford tuition. We couldn’t afford food, heat or hot water. Letters of foreclosure tormented our front door. My friendships were fading. I had no motivation, no hope for the future and no appreciation for my life. I would sit in my room cutting my wrists, feeling sorry for myself.
The time came to make a decision– exit this life or start living it. As I sat sobbing one day on my cold wooden floor, ready to bloody my wrists, I woke up. “What are you doing to yourself?” An internal voice demanded. “What am I doing?” I questioned.
I put the razor down, wiped the tears from my eyes and opened myself to a shifted perspective- one where I took responsibility and accountability for my life.
At first, it was not easy, as I had to shift my mindset and take accept my life’s current realities. No one in this world was responsible for the quality of my life except for me and this was a hard truth to grasp.
These days, life is much different. I do not begrudge people for the past, instead, I thank them. If my life experience had been different, I would be different, and I love who I am now (this certainly was not always the case).
How To Let Go Of Blame And Live A Happy Life
The reality is, there comes a time when you will also have a choice to make. Are you going to live in the past and blame others for your life, or are you going to take responsibility for the gatekeeper of your physical experience (you) and live the life you want?
Here’s how to let go of blame and live a Happy Life:
1. Leave the past in the past.
When you blame others for your life you give away your power. It doesn’t matter what happened to you in the past– your spouse cheated on you, a parent abandoned you, a friend stole from you. Whatever bad things may have happened to you in the past are in the past. Do not allow the past to take away from your now. This moment, right here, is a new opportunity to start loving yourself and living your life for you.
“People spend too much time finding other people to blame, too much energy finding excuses for not being what they are capable of being, and not enough energy putting themselves on the line, growing out of the past, and getting on with their lives.” ~ J. Michael Straczynski
Forgive others when they hurt you. If you hold grudges toxic energy akin to snake venom circulates through your body, ultimately poisoning your happiness. Let go of negative emotions- they do not serve you. Forgiveness is powerful and healing. It allows your soul and energy to become realigned with source energy and the universe.
I used to blame my father for a lot of the bad things in my life. I felt he acted as a coward when he left, and it didn’t matter to him if I lived or died. Time after time, I believed he chose women over me, and I wondered how he could do that to his only child. The reality was, my father had his own demons haunting him from his troubled childhood. His life was imperfect, and so was he, as are we all. The day I forgave him was one of the most profound days of my life because I no longer carried around what felt like a million pounds of baggage on my shoulders. I started sending him love, and thanks because had he not left I would not be this version of me and I would not have had the opportunity to live through so many incredibly eye-opening experiences and ultimately grow into a more well-rounded, forgiving, grateful, determined and successful person.
Every human on this planet makes mistakes and does things they later regret and wish to take back. The best thing we can do in these circumstances is offer love and forgiveness.
3. Live gratefully.
Gratitude is a powerful force. When you are grateful for what you already have, you will keep finding more to be grateful for. What can you say thank you for today? Perhaps your life, your lungs, your heart, your body, your mind, your health, your children, love (I’m sure you get the point).
When I first started my gratitude journey feeling odd about saying thank you.This was because I was not used to being grateful for the blessings in my life. I began by keeping a journal and recording three things every single day that I was thankful for. There were no real criteria for me to follow, other than every day I had to choose three new things to say thanks for. After a few months of practicing this, I noticed I was happier and more energized. I began seeing my life through a new lens, one of abundance rather than lack.
“Where there is no love, put love — and you will find love.” ~ St. John of the Cross
Life is a journey full of experiences and lessons. When something goes wrong or someone treats you badly, send love into the universe and to everyone around you.
Did a lady during rush hour traffic push you out of the way to get onto the subway first? Did someone cut you off on the freeway? Is your boss acting passive aggressively? Are you fighting with a friend or family member? Did someone steal your money?
Send love. Allow these circumstances to pass through you like a quick breath of air, in and out. If you send them love and move on with your life, they will become powerless past situations your body will soon forget. In turn, you will receive love from the universe, for everything you put out comes back twofold.
5. Put envy aside.
Envy is a useless emotion. It serves no purpose other than to make you wish you were something you are not. I remember I used to envy this girl I worked with ten years ago. She was beautiful and talented. She graduated with the same degree I had and was quickly making waves in the professional world, meanwhile, I was struggling to find a “normal” job. I fantasized about how wonderful it would be to be her, even just for a day.
Then one day I woke up and found out she was dead. She had died of a drug overdose. The whole time I was imagining she had a perfect and happy life, when in fact she was struggling with addiction and depression. She taught me not to envy others, for we never know the truth behind the appearance.
Ultimately, each of us has a special talent to offer the world. It is up to us to find the treasures hidden inside of us and use them as a positive force to bring light, happiness, and love into the world. Our circumstances and experiences serve as launching pads to assist in motivating us to find our purpose and journey. Live your life in love with every moment and allow the magic of the universe to materialize into your experience.