Do you want to know how to get out of your own way as you work to achieve your goals? There’s one quality that makes all the difference between success and failure in your life – victim mentality.
So what IS victim mentality? It’s where you feel and act like a victim in your own life. Please understand though, that there’s a difference between trauma and drama, and we are NOT talking about trauma here. We’re talking about allowing ongoing life drama to constantly derail you.
Let’s get clear on victim mentality here:
- It’s NOT about terrible things happening to you, it’s about you feeling out of control of your own life
- It’s about you feeling like you’re in the passenger seat, not the driver’s seat
- It’s when things are happening to you and you can’t get control over them
- It’s where you feel like you’re being swept around in your own life
Three Signs of a Victim Mentality
There are three clear signs that will tell you if you are currently operating with a victim mentality:
You blame everyone and everything around you for your circumstances. This includes the weather, your parents, the government, God, your teachers. As long as you’re focused on casting blame, your goals are always going to be just outside your reach.
As long as you’re blaming, you’re never going to be able to take full responsibility for your own outcomes. When you’re blaming, you’re giving away your own power and thus will continue to remain an absolute victim in your life.
Look around you. Can you think of any situation in your life where you were blaming the people, circumstances or events around you? If you can, go back in your mind and think through it and see if you can rewrite the situation in your own mind so you stop blaming and take responsibility.
I would never undermine the hardships you’re facing in your life, but I know that life is only 10% what happens to us and 90% how we respond.
If I’m going to take responsibility for everything in my life, that’s the exact opposite of living as a victim. I may not have caused the thing, it may not have been my fault, but we don’t need to blame ANYONE.
What we’re trying to do is take back our power so that we can create a different outcome and reality.
Honestly, there have been times in my life where I lived as a chronic complainer. I had no idea how much I was doing it, and for some reason, it seemed like an unconscious addiction.
Looking back on it now, I can see how my natural mode of operation was to spew on everyone all the time about almost everything… because I was mad at how my life looked at the time, and the only thing I knew to do was make sure that everyone around me knew that I was unhappy.
Quite simply – I was throwing a never-ending big girl tantrum – without realizing that’s what I was doing.
A huuuuuuge game changing thought shift for me was when I learned ‘if I’m complaining, I’m a victim’. Why? Well, let’s think about it. If I could actually be doing something about it, then I would shut up, stop wasting time and energy marching in the poo poo parade, and channel that energy in a more constructive way to do something about my life instead. Right?
What I realized all those years ago is that we naturally tend to operate in a negative cycles of: event => circumstance => perception of situation => response => repeat.
Sure, we can’t control every single little thing that happens to us. But what we forget is that life is only 10% what happens TO us, and the other 90% is how we choose to respond.
When I thought about that, I realized maybe it’s just “easier” (or more natural) to complain than it is to suck it up, get uncomfortable and get out of my comfort zone. Easier to complain than to go face my fears and limited thinking and do whatever work would be required to change my situation.
Ouch. Roger that.
How to change a Victim Mentality
If you’re complaining,you’re very literally breathing negative energy into the people around you all the time, and that will spread like a cancer. It’s definitely not what we want to give into the world around us.
Words can kill or words can give life, so we need to pause and get very clear here. What kind of energy are we creating in the world around us by our words?
We want to focus on positive talk as much as we possibly can, and we also want to make sure we’re not complaining.
If the words coming out of our mouths could be construed as complaining, how can we become aware and start to shift our inner dialog – that creates our outer dialog – and rein it back in to speak differently? Even if we have to bite our tongues until we’re bleeding just to stop complaining.
And if I can’t do anything about it… if changing my situation is really and truly beyond my control, then complaining still makes me a victim, because it only attracts more negativity into my life.
And PS: I have yet to meet a person who is truly helpless to change their own life. If the people in the world with the worst possible circumstances can find a way to be happy, grateful, and peaceful…it means we can at least work on our mindset and perspective…which are massive components that we can ALWAYS control.
The third sign of victim’s mentality is justification. This is a habit of making excuses for why your situation is like it is. Why the bar is so low, your performance is so low, or your outcome is so low.
Please note: ‘Low’ is relative here. It means beneath where you want it. It’s low by your standards, not by anyone else’s. We’re not comparing ourselves to others, because the only thing that happens when we do that is we inevitably compare their strengths to our weaknesses.
And of course, we never measure up and we’re always our own toughest critics. We only want to use other people’s successes as inspiration; as benchmarks and proof of what’s possible.
We don’t do it to compare ourselves and beat ourselves up for not being where they are and wishing things were different. You see, by sitting around and merely wishing, we’re actually giving away our power.
If I’m justifying any detail of my situation, I’m making up excuses or giving reasons for why things are the way they are: “Oh, it’s just who I am”, “Oh, it’s just my personality” or “It’s just the way I was raised.”
It’s just the economy.
It’s just kids these days.
It’s just my age.
It’s just the pandemic.
It’s JUST an excuse. That’s all justification is. When we can stop justifying and making excuses for ourselves, then everything in our world can change.
My Challenge to You
Start to become aware of places in your life where you might be undermining your own potential and depleting your own power.
Where are you allowing yourself to complain every now and then? Where are you blaming or even justifying every now and then?
Whenever you notice yourself blaming, complaining or justifying in conversation, stop yourself. Say, “Oops! I didn’t mean to say that!” Take the words back, change the subject and move onto something else.
And yes…even though it will feel totally awkward at first…just stop in the middle! Over time, you’ll find that you’re able to stop yourself before the words come out. Then, eventually, with consistent practice and awareness, you’ll find that you’re able to stop yourself even thinking those thoughts.
You’ll be able to create a new shift, a new thought pattern, and eventually those new thoughts will form on their own from the beginning. You won’t even be inclined to think that way anymore.
Remember, what you think about, you speak about, and speak about you bring about. Therefore, your thoughts really do create your reality. When we know that, we can totally and completely take full responsibility for everything in our life.
You can change your whole world, but it will absolutely require that you give up the victim’s mentality. Say to yourself:
“Instead of being a victim in any area of my life, I’m going to choose to be a victor.”
You got this, my friend. 👊