Have you ever caught yourself playing the victim? Questioning, “Why did this happen to me?” Or “What did I do to deserve this?” Maybe you’ve felt like life was unfair or blamed others for your misfortunes. In the past the victim mindset consumed me, I believed life owed me something. When things didn’t go my way I became frustrated and spiraled into a negative state of mind.
I expected things to just fall into place, without actually doing the work. Using excuses as to why “I couldn’t” or “I shouldn’t” give things a go. I lived in a constant state of guilt and regret for not acting on opportunities. Life was passing me by, while I was busy feeling sorry for myself.
When you exist as a ‘victim’ you feel powerless and defeated. We are often unaware of our actions, due to the stories we create to enforce living in the victim mindset.
An article discussing the victim mindset in Psychology Today explains. “Those with a victim mentality are always being victimized, at least in their own mind. They maintain a consistent victim identity and see life through perpetually victim-tinted glasses.”
Here are a few clues that you might be living the victim mindset and holding yourself back;
- Placing blame on anyone/anything to avoid taking responsibility
- Feeding off drama and self-pity
- Feeling sorry for yourself, for no good reason
- Always focusing on the negatives over positives
- Making excuses for everything
- Caught up only thinking about yourself
True, we all feel like this sometime, that’s normal. But when you are constantly living in this mindset, it becomes a problem. Because are choosing to hold yourself back, instead of taking responsibility for your life choices.
Breaking free of the victim mindset involves identifying negative patterns and thoughts that hold you back. For example; you have a disagreement with a friend. You may choose to focus all the blame on them, instead of taking responsibility for your part. Or maybe it seems like you constantly attract drama in your life. You may choose to feel sorry for yourself and feed off self-pity instead of acknowledging what you may be projecting. In these situations, we tend to blame external factors, instead of choosing to look inwards at our own mindset.
When I began challenging the victim mindset that existed in my life. I realized how much I was holding myself back and giving away my personal power. Particularly when things didn’t go my way. I created drama to blame external influences for my suffering, instead of taking responsibility for my own choices and expectations. This in turn left me feeling sorry for myself and focusing on the negatives.
We always have a choice. We decide to live as a ‘victim’ or regain our personal power and recreate our reality. Life can be tough at times, so why create further suffering for yourself and others? We can’t control what happens in life, but we can control our approach to life.
Here are five tips towards freeing yourself from the victim mindset:
1. Take responsibility
The first and most important step is to take responsibility. You are the only one that holds the power change your life, and can take responsible for your life; No excuse. When you take responsibility for your life it is extremely empowering. Understanding that you have control over your actions and responses allows you to see how it shapes your life experiences.
We may not always be able to control our thoughts or emotions. But we always have a choice in the way we respond to people and situations. However, if we choose to avoid taking responsibility for our life. We give away our personal power and the opportunity to fulfill our life’s potential.
2. Stop making excuses
Identify when you are making excuses or avoiding things that will benefit you, (self-sabotaging). Whenever you catch yourself saying “I can’t”, “I don’t have time” or “I’m not good enough” ask yourself this question; “Is this the truth, or is this just an excuse?” I guarantee you, majority of the time it will be an excuse.
If something is truly important and meaningful to you, then you will find a way to make it happen. If you find yourself making excuses, maybe it’s time to reflect. Ask yourself “Is this serving me and bringing joy and purpose to my life?”
3. Set yourself a morning routine
Personally, I began to notice the biggest transformation once I committed to a morning routine of writing, exercise and mediation. I gained a strong sense of structure and purpose each morning. And noticed an increase in productivity and focus throughout the rest of the day.
For years I made excuses to avoid waking up early. But the problem is you stay stuck in the same old patterns. Without routine, structure and goals it can become far too easy to slip back into the victim mindset. When you awake with a sense of purpose for the day, there is no space for self-pity or blame.
By setting a morning routine, you begin to build new positive habits. As the saying goes, “nothing changes if nothing changes”
4. Practice mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness through meditation allows you to become aware of your thoughts, patterns and behaviors. The old stories you are playing out, which are not serving you, and keep you stuck.
When you silence the mind, it becomes easier to differentiate your thoughts and pinpoint what brings you suffering. Starting your day with 10 – 15 minutes of silence can have a big impact on changing your mindset. If you struggle to meditate, there are other practices you can adopt. For example; taking a quiet walk in nature, yoga or breathing exercises.
5. Practice Gratitude
Often we focus on what we are lacking and forget about the wonderful joy’s life has given us. Practicing daily gratitude, allows you to focus on being grateful for what you have, instead of what you don’t have. Life gives us so many things to be grateful for, we just forget to pay attention sometimes. The more you practice gratitude, the more you realize the positives in life, rather than focusing on the negatives.
Practicing gratitude is a powerful tool in cultivating compassion, kindness and appreciation for those around us. Try this. At the end of each day, reflect and write down two things you are grateful for. You might be surprised by what a seemingly small joy can bring to your life.
Breaking free of the victim mindset is not about changing or controlling external influences. Rather tuning into the patterns and behaviors that are holding you back. The process takes self-awareness and dedication. But when you begin to take responsibility, stop making excuses and put new positive practices in place. You gain the power to create a more fulfilling and empowering life.
What are your warning signs for slipping back into the victim mindset? And what helpful tips can you share to overcome them? Leave comments below.
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