Yes, YOU, the successful executive, millionaire entrepreneur, renowned author, rockstar, superwoman. Do you sometimes fall into the victim mentality?
I know I sure do!
We have all had moments in our lives where an outside source decided what was going to happen to us or put us in a position where we felt like we had no control. This happens. However, there is also something called victim mentality which I have noticed in myself at times. It hides under the surface, and I have begun to notice it making an appearance more and more in my life lately.
Perception is a Choice
So, let me tell you a story. Four years ago, my husband lost his job, the main income of our family of six. When this happened, I did what any partner would do. I stepped up to the plate, made some changes in my business, and did whatever I could to pick up the slack. But years later, during a moment of weakness, I had a passing thought which is quite humbling to share. I thought, “If he hadn’t lost his job, I wouldn’t have to be doing all this.” And I started wondering if the success of my business is a victim of my husband’s situation OR was my husband’s situation a catalyst for the opportunity for my business to grow? And both are correct to some extent. But, at that moment, I was choosing to be the victim because I was unhappy about a certain aspect in my business. The better question is “What is the empowered perspective I can choose to take that will let me feel good about myself, good about my work, and give me the capacity to make the right decisions?” We always have a choice on how we perceive things in life.
That got me thinking about all the micro behaviors in my life that reflect my underlying victim mentality. To some extent, we become addicted to being the victim. Subconsciously, we are addicted to that emotional cycle that happens when you realize that someone else or something else is at fault for your disappointment, whether it be a feeling that you are not supported, not loved, or whatever story you are telling yourself at that moment. The cycle goes on and on and usually ends in us turning to something physical to help us cope like smoking, eating, drinking, etc. We need to break the cycle by learning how to resist the tendency to go into victim mode.
Here are three strategies you can try:
- PAY ATTENTION
Pay attention to your words, your thoughts, and your statements. When something happens that upsets you, what is your first thought, your first reaction? Mentally or on paper, take note of this reaction.
- CHALLENGE YOURSELF
Ask yourself, “When am I being a victim? When am I setting my environment up to disappoint me and as a result triggering the victim cycle and giving me an excuse to give in?” Honestly listen to the answer. Releasing your VICTIM default is a choice and an ongoing practice. Remind yourself that self-doubt will hold you back!
- WHAT IS POSSIBLE?
Look for the expanding thought, idea, or possibility. Ask yourself, “How can I choose a different pattern? How can I move from a victim to an empowered persona?” What is possible for you if you choose a different perspective?
Just think about it. Do you want to be the victim or the hero of your own life? Release the victim mentality and allow life to happen FOR you instead of TO you.
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Dolores Hirschmann is an internationally recognized strategist, clarity coach, TEDx organizer, speaker, and author. She has over 20 years of experience helping entrepreneurs and organizations realize their potential by clarifying their “idea worth sharing.”