4 Tips to Ditch Your Victim Mentality
Note: This post may be triggering for anyone with mental health issues.
Sometimes you feel like you can’t catch a break. You’ve been through so much in life, you feel like a product of the circumstances and aren’t sure how to move on.
As someone who used to identify myself as a victim (for many reasons), I understand how debilitating this can be. Because I saw myself as a victim, I developed many mental health issues becoming extremely depressed, self-harming, and developing major eating issues in order to have some sense of “control” in my life. I was in a constant cycle of negativity wondering why I had been given those challenges in my life, when everyone else around me seemed to be happy.
I would share bits and pieces of my stories but it wasn’t until I became more vulnerable and started opening up about myself that I realized how much everyone else is going through.
The truth is simple: We are all going through something. We have all been through things that have changed our lives forever. It’s how we choose to grow that defines us and builds our character.
I am not alone in this. People tell me their stories and they would be sad, angry, or resentful, but I always find myself proud of them for all that they have conquered. When I tried to reflect that pride onto myself, I started to see what others had seen in me and the shift in my mentality began.
The switch isn’t easy, but here are four key factors that have helped me in my journey.
1. Write down all the things you learned from your experiences.
There is a lesson in every situation. When you are given something that can be seen as a bad experience, ask yourself, “What is the lesson in this?” For me, that allowed me to put value in a situation that would normally tear someone up.
When I was diagnosed with Crohn’s, I had to learn to cope in living with a disease that has no cure. I could barely go to school and was in severe pain constantly. For years I was in and out of depression asking, “Why me?” I didn’t really see a reason to live if I was in a constant cycle of pain. It didn’t seem like much of a life but over time I started to look at how those experiences in the hospital have actually helped me in other situations. I started to ask myself what my lessons have been and it got to about 20 bullet points before I realized how much I had grown as a person because of it. The list continues to grow. It can take a lifetime for someone to realize some big lessons, and as hard as it was, I am glad I realized those early on in life.
2. Find gratitude in those lessons.
Going through difficult situations are where we see what we are truly capable of. Testing yourself allows you to become more adaptable to conquer even more. When you realize all that you have learned, you have become a more well-rounded person. Those tests, as hard as they can be, have given your life more value. Be thankful for that!
3. Switch your internal label from victim to survivor.
For a long time, I needed to identify myself as a victim. I wasn’t sure if my health would take a turn for the worst or where I would be in a week, how was I supposed to plan for any future? I had to find things around me that were safe. I was a “victim” of the circumstance.
When I realized I had survived x, y and z, I was starting to see how powerful I was. I had always identified the tough times with weakness, but started to realize that everything I had gone through to get to the point where I was is actually a place of strength. I overcame those.
When you realize you have overcome something, the word “victim” is no longer relevant.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?
4. Be patient with yourself.
This process is not something that can be resolved overnight. The important thing is that you take active steps in that direction. Things will come up that will challenge where you are at. Recognize that, and choose how to grow from it.
You are doing what you can to evolve. Small setbacks aren’t a relapse. They are tests to see how much you’ve grown in your journey. You are strong, and your life is worth it.
Free yourself from the constraints of a label that doesn’t serve you. We are constantly evolving and sticking to something that holds you back is a waste of time.
You are stronger than you know, and deserve to kick ass in life. Take pride in your past to build a more positive, meaningful future.
Build the life you want, warrior!