I wrote about blame vs. responsibility a few years ago and the article got a lot of traction. I am revisiting it today because this topic is so important! Blame is incredibly disempowering. Responsibility, on the other hand, is powerful! Shifting from blame to responsibility will help us feel better about ourselves and our relationships. Here are some more thoughts about blame vs. responsibility and some tips to help you make the shift:

Blame is rigid, accusatory, and a win/lose, zero-sum affair. When we are blaming, we are victims. It’s not a good look or a good strategy.

Taking responsibility, on the other hand, is an act of grace, maturity, and flexibility. It is also a win/win approach. Read on to learn more about the difference between blame and responsibility and some tips on helping to make the shift!


Many people torment themselves with self-blame. They have trouble forgiving themselves and hold themselves to a high standard of perfection. None of us can hope to achieve perfection and most of us can accept that in others, but we usually have a harder time accepting it in ourselves. (The ones who don’t are what we call narcissists, and that is a topic for a different blog!)

Self-blame keeps us stuck in a shame cycle. It is hard to move forward with grace and happiness if we are continually beating ourselves up for the mistakes we have made. It leaves us paralyzed with fear of making more mistakes and proving ourselves unworthy.

Blaming others

Self-blame is harmful, and blaming others is just as fruitless. Decades of psychotherapy dedicated to looking in the rear-view mirror was fabulous for pointing to the need for good parenting skills, better teaching, and moving toward better, more compassionate schools.

It was awful, however, for helping people move forward with happy, empowered lives. Blaming others is like fly tape. When we keep blaming those who have wronged us, we stay stuck in the problem. The more we rail against the unfairness of it all, the more we lash out with blame in thought or word or deed, the more stuck in the problem we become.

Knowing that our childhood wounds left their marks is useful, but it’s only a part of the story because it does not teach us how to move forward.

Taking responsibility

Being able to take responsibility without assigning blame is a powerful move. It happens when we can stand in grace. That grace comes from doing our work and working on our healing.

One important shift you will notice is your increased capacity to have compassion for the people who hurt you. Rather than being triggered and seeing yourself as their victim, you will see their own woundedness and vulnerability. When you can have compassion for the people who hurt you, you are shifting from blame to responsibility. This can open the door to forgiveness. It can also help release us from a disempowered victim stance, shifting us toward a powerful, creative, capable, growth-oriented perspective.

Shifting from blame to responsibility

When we find ourselves stuck in unhappy situations, we are probably carrying around some unhealed wounds, or bound up by scar tissue. There are energy practices that can help you make a shift from blame to responsibility.

Daily tapping:

EFT of any of the related tapping exercises like TFT or TTT can help us keep our circuits clear. They are simple practices that can be done very quickly in just a few minutes. Adding them to the morning routine takes only a few minutes but can deliver great results!

The Personal Peace Procedure:

Systematically compiling a list of troubling events from the past, and tapping them away one by one, is a fantastic way to heal old wounds. We recommend, however, working with a trained practitioner if you are dealing with significant trauma.

Charkra spinning:

When we have an uncomfortable emotion, we can learn to feel where in our body the energy has become congested. Often it is the heart or solar plexus. We can open up the stuck or over-active energy by gently circling our hand over the chakra. Placing our hands on our chest or belly can also help restore balance.

Journaling with a healing ending:

When we are grieving difficult experiences from the past, writing can help a lot. It slows us down, and that is inherently a good thing! Our brainwaves tend to get fast and jagged when we are upset, but when we are writing, our hands can only move so fast – and our brainwaves seem to slow down along with them. Our thoughts become clearer as a result (our respiration, heart rates and blood pressure slow down, too!). You can energize the journaling practice by lighting a candle when you finish, signifying that you are letting it go. If you can safely burn the page, that also can help. Shredding and saturating the scraps with water is another way to signify that you are letting the story go.

Sage your space

Burning sage (or Palo Santo) can help clear the energy in your physical spaces. After working to resolve a troubling experience from the past, it is a good idea to clear your room or home to remove any stuck, negative vibes that are left over. You can also use Reiki symbols or hang crystals to change the energy in a room.

Putting it together: blame vs. responsibility

These practices will help you to take back your power from the wounded people who wounded you. When your wounds are significant, there is nothing like working with a pro.