“Some people are so prone to playing the victim, it’s a wonder they don’t leave a chalk outline wherever they go.” —Anonymous
Victimization is Being a Casualty to Your Past
A victim mentality is where you blame everyone else for what’s happened in your life. “Victims” view life through a different filter: “It’s not my fault. I always get the short end of the stick. It’s not fair . . .”
It springs from a feeling of powerlessness. They believe they’re the victim of circumstances beyond their control. They feel they’ve fallen prey to other people’s actions that they can’t do anything about. Victimization usually moves from powerlessness straight to hopelessness.
The victim mindset keeps you from enjoying a full life. When you’re the victim, you’re less likely to take chances and change your circumstances. But it doesn’t have to be like that. The tips below can help you move out of that toxic, debilitating lifestyle into a joyful, richer one.
You Have a Choice in Your Reaction to What’s Happened
As a society, we’re often quick to blame others. Victims take it even farther. They blame other people for their unfortunate circumstances and feel they’re the scapegoat for forces outside of their control. Victims make excuses. They don’t have to do anything different because it’s not about them; someone else is responsible.
“I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” –Carl Jung
Victims give away their power when they view themselves as innocent bystanders to other people’s actions. While victims don’t have the power to always control what happens to them, they do have a choice in their reactions and responses in how they handle it. The answer is to take complete responsibility for their life.
It boils down to how you respond to the pain inflicted on you. We’ve all had painful past experiences but victims tend to hold on to resentment, bitterness, and anger from these occurrences. The key is to forgive and let it go. Find the inner strength to move beyond your pain, and transform it into compassion. Forgiveness leads to freedom and inner peace.
Dump the Victim Mindset and Develop a Survivor Mentality
Everyone has a critical inner voice. Everyone. But while many of us consciously use positive thinking to shift out of our critical voice, victims tightly grip their inner criticism like a life ring. And they believe it’s true. The inner critic might have feelings of unfairness, thinking, “What’s happening to me isn’t fair. No one ever shows me any respect at work.” Increase your awareness when your internal critic has set up camp and taken over.
Adjust your way of thinking. Maybe your best friend has more money than you do because he received a sizable inheritance. He drives around in an expensive car, travels often to exotic destinations, dines at fine restaurants and doesn’t have to hold down a job. You feel resentful because you’re working long hours at an unfulfilling job and you still can’t make ends meet.
Instead of holding on to your resentment, you can choose to let go of your anger and feel happy for your friend’s good fortune. It’s not fair or unfair. It simply is. Shift your focus to how fortunate you are. There are many people who can’t find work and don’t have a roof over their heads.
It’s also about changing perspectives. Move out of the victim mindset and into the survivor mentality. A victim will resist life’s challenges but a survivor embraces them as opportunities for growth. A victim obsesses over losses while a survivor treasures the moments they did have. A victim gets stuck by obstacles but a survivor keeps moving forward.
Gratitude Can Quickly Shift You Out of Victim Mode
Gratitude is a powerful emotion that is tremendously helpful in almost every situation, and that’s especially true with victim mentality. Instead of focusing on what happened or what you don’t have, shift your attention on everything you do have. There are always others in much worse shape than you’re in. Many, many others.
Even the toughest challenges can be huge learning opportunities. As German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wisely stated, “What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.” When you feel yourself in the victim headspace, start a gratitude list in your mind instead.
When you’re feeling victimized, you’re likely hyper-focused on yourself. Place your attention and concern on others. Do something kind for someone. You’ll feel an immediate internal shift.
By changing the way you think and respond, you can break out of the victim mode and start living a happier, fuller life. “Change begins with me,” is an immensely popular quote for good reason. It really is up to you and no one else. There’s no better time to start than right now.