Beyond Blaming

 
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This week was wild. Extreme highs. Extreme lows.

And I found myself on an emotional rollercoaster ride - reaching for my phone to numb. Except it was far from numbing.

Many, many friends filled my feed with a level of bravery I’ve never witnessed. At least not on social.

Usually, we use social media to share the pieces + parts of our story we want to be seen. The rest? We keep under the surface.

What I witnessed this week was in so many ways, the opposite.

Women bravely coming forward to share painful truths. Parts of their story that’ve been buried deep under the surface. Many, for years.

As painful as it was to read their words and stories — I knew that by sharing, they were shedding light on a part of themselves that had been subject to so.much.shame and so.much.pain. And with that light comes a new level of healing.

It’s the BRAVEST thing we will ever do. To own our stories fully.

It takes so much courage.

Which is why I felt such intense anger reading through the comments.

One friend BRAVELY shared a little more of her story — and the trauma + pain she’s experienced.

Under her brave + deeply vulnerable words, a woman wrote:

“May I also suggest that we teach our girls to not entice our boys?”

To the woman who wrote this comment:

I had to step away. And put down my phone. ENTICE? There’s no way you really said that, I thought. On this post?

I gave myself permission to feel the anger coursing through my veins. There’s no way you really meant that, I thought.

I resisted the urge to go to your personal page to find evidence of your shortcomings. And all the ways you are ‘wrong + bad.’ That’s the anger + ego talking, I thought.

I woke up the next morning in a puddle of sweat. For all the women who read your words and felt shame. Who once again wondered if it was their fault. I couldn’t get it out of my mind.

Re-reading your words, I see pain.
I see fear.
I see judgement.
I see blame.
I see righteousness.
I see shame, layers thick.

And somewhere underneath all of those things, I see you.

I see you. And. I wholeheartedly REJECT your words.

I will never look my four girls in the eyes and tell them that they own the thoughts or emotions or actions of another. Ever.

Leading with shame + blame + judgment is not leadership at all.

It’s deflection.
It’s damaging.
It’s dehumanizing.
And it’s downright dangerous.

And it’s blocking true ownership and accountability.

We get to choose how we show up. We are responsible for our own lives.

Time’s up for blaming ourselves and each other when the accountability + ownership belong to another. Time. Is. Up.

I’m sorry you’ve bought into the dangerous + bullshit messages that told you if you look a certain way + act a certain way + do all the things just so, that you’d be able to control others - and what they think about you or in this case - do to you.

That’s the illusion of control. I reject that belief. It simply doesn’t work that way.

To all the survivors. I see you. I’m with you. It’s not your fault.

It. Is. Not. Your. Fault.

We are stronger together.

And, together means having the courage to show up and be seen. To listen. And to see the human underneath the posts + comments. Even when it’s hard.

And. We can do this kind of hard.

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Samantha Arsenault Livingstone is an Olympic Gold Medalist, high-performance coach, transformational speaker and mother of four girls. She is the founder of Livingstone High Performance, LLC. and the Rise Free Academy. 

Samantha helps her clients cultivate the habits, mindset and skill set needed to quiet the noise and unapologetically step into their light, so they can achieve, AND feel fulfilled along the way.

Samantha earned a master’s in education and spent six years teaching science at Norcross High School in Gwinnett County, Georgia. In 2014, after a traumatic and perspective-shifting experience involving her young daughter, she took a leap into the world of entrepreneurship to live her dream.

Samantha candidly shares her battles with her inner critic, depression, perfection, PTSD and parenting as a working mother because she believes in the transformative power of story – and the strength that comes from knowing we are not alone. She is on a mission to pay forward all that she’s learned to help others find joy and live free.
  
A mama of heart warrior and mama of twins, Samantha and her husband, Rob, live in the Berkshires with their four girls. You can learn more about Samantha at www.samanthalivingstone.com.