Many people go through life thinking they are victims. You think bad things only happen to you. You believe that life is good for your friends and that you are the only one in the world that picked the ‘short straw’. You have no joy.
Being a victim gives you the security of not having to take responsibility for what happens to you. You might enjoy the time, pity and attention that others give you as a result. When you act like a victim, you stay a victim, and you become a victim of our own mind – it’s a vicious circle.
Being a victim is a destructive mindset, as not only does the victim feel negatively about their current situation, but they also feel powerless to change it.
You might think you don’t feel like a victim, but almost all of us fall into victim mentality sometimes. You know, thoughts like “I must be the most unappreciated fellow around,” or “I look like a whale! If I didn’t have so much stress, I would not eat all the time.” See what I mean?
How can you get out of victim mentality and return to joyful victory?
Here’s a few short tips:
1. Take responsibility for your life
Victor Frankl survived the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz by discovering the ultimate freedom "to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way." Frankl said "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." Don’t blame others for what happens to you. Take responsibility for every action and circumstance in your life. Remember, you cannot control your circumstances, but you can always control your response!
2. Choose Gratitude
Switch from a narrow, self-centered “poor, poor me…” attitude into a wider grateful one. Lighten up about your situation. Ask yourself “Can it be possible that others have it worse than me?” “What is the hidden opportunity within this situation?” Then choose to be grateful for what you have.
3. Give yourself a break.
Getting out of a victim mentality can be hard. Sometimes you’ll slip. Be nice to yourself. If you have to be perfect then one little slip is made into a big problem and may cause you to spiral down into a very negative place for many days. It is more helpful to just give yourself a break and remember you don’t have to keep battering your brain. Just stop, learn from your mistakes, and keep going forward.
4. Ask for what you need
When you have victim mentality, you feel like a martyr and think you can’t ask for help. In relationships you need to be willing to put yourself out and ask for help. Instead of feeling all stressed out because you are trying to do too much, ask your husband to help with the cleaning or hire someone to clean. You have the power to make your life easier by asking for help. And if you don’t find help, you can also let go and simplify your life.
5. Turn your focus outward and bring joy to someone
“How can I bring joy to someone right now?” Asking that question also helps to snap you out of victim mentality. The way you behave and think towards others seems to have a big effect on how you behave towards yourself and think about yourself. Be more kind to other people, help them, and you tend to be more kind and helpful to yourself. The more you find ways to bring joy to other people, the more joy you will have.
Your turn: Anytime today that you are tempted to think like a victim, follow any of the suggestions above or find your own way to turn your victim thinking into joyful victory thinking. Imagine you are your own cheerleader section and find phrases and actions that can empower you for joy. Then think what you can do today to bring some extra joy to your loved one, and do it.