Do you know what one of the most self-destructive things we do to ourselves is? It is universal, seeps into our lives often unconsciously, we can’t get rid of it with our intellect, and it can cause us great unhappiness. Blame, guilt and shame.

These related emotions come about by judging ourselves. The voice in our head that tells us we really goofed up, what a stupid thing we did, asking “why did I say that or do that?” And there may be no end to it, it becomes like a repeated song in our head that leaves us feeling horrible. It may fade away eventually, only to re-emerge the next time we make a mistake.

We could have internalized our parents punishing us, and it turns into self-punishment. It could come from a feeling that we aren’t good enough, smart enough, or don’t have enough knowledge or education.

I made a mistake at work recently. There was blame enough for several parties. It reminded me of the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell; he wrote about all the small, insignificant mistakes that put together in just the right way, at the perfect time, cause an airplane to crash. We had a crash here at work.

For my part I became devastated. I went through my steps over and over, all my actions, thoughts and work associated with it, lashing myself unmercifully. The other parties were scrambling to cover themselves, a knee-jerk reaction.

I knew I didn’t intentionally cause a mistake to happen. As I worked on repairing my mistake, doing the research and coming up with solutions, I knew I needed to forgive myself. The only way out is to stop trying to intellectualize the situation.

Whether we are blaming another for something they did or blaming ourselves, forgiveness just doesn’t come because we want it to. If we stay in our head, re-playing, judging, pulling in all those archetypal personalities that make up our roles, (the judge, the victim, or the scolding parent) we will never get to forgiveness. Forgiveness is one of those gifts that befall us when we surrender and realize it is not just about us and what runs through our minds.

There is a greater gestalt going on with any occurrence.  I believe there is a greater reality than what we perceive by our intellect. Our heart is a key to widening our perception so that we can make room for more love, forgiveness, and peace. In the grander scheme of life, one that includes our inner-being or soul, there are deeper meanings to our events. We see such a small piece of what is going on.  If we can step back from the mind and know the innocence in ourselves, the love and compassion held for us by our higher-self, the forgiveness already bestowed on us, we begin to move out of our endless blame.

And oh, the crash mentioned above at work? Well, by the time this goes to print, it has miraculously shrunk down to a small but manageable glitch.