We have previously identified the victim mentality and discussed the reasons that some people choose to embrace it. We also briefly touched on the negative side effects of playing the victim.
Being a victim undermines your ability to make any change in your circumstances–it paralyzes you and makes you unable to take action on your own behalf.
When you feel powerless, you might feel like the universe is “out to get you,” and that there’s just nothing you can do to stop it. You might even call yourself a “survivor.”
But I’m here to tell you that “surviving” isn’t living, and living is pretty amazing if you give it a shot.
When you can feel powerful and in control of your own live, you can create personal change that can help you to live the life you really want.
So, how do you overcome the victim mentality?
1. Change your mind.
I know, you’ve heard it all before. But really, the very first step you must take to overcome the victim mentality is to make a choice. You have to simply DECIDE that you are not a victim.
Choose to be in control of your life. Choose to take responsibility for every single element of your life–every person, situation, thing and circumstance, even though it might feel uncomfortable at first.
2. Don’t play the blame game.
One of the reasons folks with the victim mentality often have low self-esteem is that they don’t feel like they’re responsible for their own lives. They blame other people or situations, and this nurtures that victim mentality.
This can negatively affect their relationships, their goals and ambitions and ultimately, the quality of life.
Here’s the solution: start acknowledging that you create your reality. Start small, if you need to, by just taking responsibility for every single thing that happens tomorrow.
You’ll notice an immediate difference–rather than relying on someone else to validate you, you can approve of yourself. Rather than requiring the approval of your spouse or parents or friends, you can start building your own strength from within–and before you know it, you will be able to stay positive, no matter what happens around you.
3. Be thankful for what you have.
Oprah Winfrey once said that you’ll never have what you want until you want what you have. I think that she meant that being grateful for the good things in your life will help to bring more good things to you.
So, the next time you’re feeling sorry for yourself, take a look around and find something to be grateful for–and then another thing, and another, and so on.
And once your perspective is brighter (and it will be, if you really do this little exercise), ask yourself what good could come of the situation you’re dealing with.
So, instead of asking yourself “why me?”, ask yourself what opportunity could come from the situation.
4. Let go of the past.
When someone hurts you, it’s human nature to feel like a victim. But the longer you hold on to resentments and anger, the longer you are still drawing more of that into your life.
As Catherine Ponder said, “When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”
So, you want to be free of the past? Forgive the people who hurt you, and forgive yourself for holding on to it for so long. Release the people, the situations and the things that have caused you pain, and you’ll find yourself freer and lighter, and moving in the right direction.
Please note that this does not mean you should live in abusive situations or try to change abusive people. You can only change yourself.
5. Don’t beat yourself up.
It can be tough to change your way of thinking, so if you find yourself slipping, don’t feel like a failure. You’re human, after all.
But when you do notice a little slip, make a concerted effort to change your mind.
Affirm to yourself that you are in control, and give yourself a little hug. It might help to come up with a particular mantra that you repeat to yourself anytime you feel victim-like–something like “I am strong and powerful and I decide what happens in my life,” maybe.
So how about you? What are your best tips for overcoming a victim mentality? Tell me in the comments!