Are you tired of feeling at the mercy of life?
Maybe things just keep happening to you that seem to knock you down over and over again.
Perhaps it feels like people always take advantage or treat you badly.
You can’t catch a break and you are sick of it.
We all feel a bit sorry for ourselves from time to time.
The good news is that your destiny and happiness are in your hands — far more than you may realize.
For life to change though, you have to learn to empower yourself.
That means giving up on playing the victim once and for all.
Here’s how to start…
1) Pay attention to the stories you tell yourself
Sometimes we think that our lives are dictated by a collection of events and experiences.
But in many ways, they’re actually dictated by a collection of stories we tell ourselves about those things that happen.
Sure, some things in life objectively suck, no matter what spin we put on it.
But the point is that the framework we use and the subsequent stories we weave about it make all the difference.
Victimhood often has us playing ‘woe-is-me’ tales on a loop without us necessarily noticing.
It’s important to regularly self-reflect on your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors for this reason.
When you do, you can look out for patterns or beliefs that may be holding you back.
Where you spot negative thoughts consistently coming up, consciously flip the script.
Seek to reframe painful stories and focus on learning and growth. Even bad things that happen provide great fertilizer for this.
Practice gratitude so that you not only improve your mood but simultaneously train your brain to look for the positive aspects of your life.
It doesn’t matter how negative your mindset currently is, you have the power to cultivate a more positive one.
2) Stop looking for excuses and people to blame
“My folks always favored my sister so I never felt like I truly belonged.”
“My classmates at school bullied me so I stopped believing in myself.”
“My ex-girlfriend cheated on me so I don’t trust women anymore.”
We’ve all been wronged by others.
It’s good to express how we feel and voice the impact things have had on us. It’s part of the healing process.
I’m not trying to diminish the effect that past traumas can have on us. But we cannot allow that to turn into our excuses for the future.
Victims have a habit of assigning blame to others.
But in the process of justifying why bad things always happen to them, they end up giving away their power to do anything about it.
If you genuinely worry that certain people in your life are having a harmful effect, then surround yourself with more positive influences and avoid toxic relationships.
But it’s still ultimately down to you.
That’s why the antidote is complete self-responsibility.
3) Start taking extreme responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, and actions
A big part of ditching victimhood once and for all relies on taking ownership of yourself.
That means acknowledging that the role you play in your own life is by far the most significant one.
In order to do this we have to accept that every choice we make is ours.
It doesn’t always feel like this though.
Sometimes people do things, and what they choose to do is totally out of our hands. Or certain things happen to us that we had zero say in.
That’s true, but we do always get to decide how we respond to it.
Recognize that you have control over your reactions and how you handle challenges.
Nobody can make you feel, think, or do anything.
That’s all an internal process and something you are 100% responsible for.
4) Know that nobody leads an entirely charmed life
Life’s not fair. That’s certainly not changing anytime soon.
Let’s be honest, you probably still have it easier than a lot of other people around the world right now.
I’m not trying to be harsh.
I’m trying to point out that life doesn’t care about what is just and unjust, reasonable or unreasonable.
But life certainly doesn’t have a vendetta toward you either. It remains neutral to human projections and interpretations of events.
Life simply is. That always involves a mix of good and bad, light and shade.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t all strive to stand up for what’s right or act against wrongdoing.
But in the meantime, when unfair things happen to us we only have one of two choices:
We either accept that shit happens, but that’s just the way it is.
Or we waste pointless time and energy wallowing in self-pity about it.
If you go the latter route, you end up creating even more suffering for yourself on top of it all, with zero benefit.
When you can acknowledge that bad things are a part of life, you subtly shift your mindset.
You don’t get stuck fighting against what has already happened, and things you cannot change.
Instead, you free yourself to roll up your sleeves and get to work so that you can do something about the poor hand you’ve been dealt.
5) Turn your attention to the things you do have control over
I can have a bad habit of worrying about things. Before I know it overthinking causes me to stress out and blow things way out of proportion.
It’s a self-destructive thing to do that only leaves you feeling helpless.
Victimhood tends to involve a lot of talk and very little action.
We’re more like to sit around complaining than do anything about it.
That’s why taking small steps in the right direction can be so empowering.
It’s a good way to quieten that negative voice and instead channel ourselves into something constructive.
That means we need to set clear goals and take action.
It can help to define what changes you want to see in your life, and then set specific and measurable goals around it.
Just remember to break down your goals into smaller, manageable steps so you don’t feel overwhelmed by them.
Then take consistent action, even if it’s just a small step each day.
So that inevitable setbacks don’t derail you and drag you backward, be sure to celebrate your progress and use challenges that arise as opportunities to learn and grow.
This is what will slowly build your confidence.
6) Bolster your resilience so you can weather the storms of life
A defining difference between a victim and a survivor in life is how they tackle hardships.
Victims give in, admit defeat, and stay stuck.
Survivors battle forward, never give up, and so get to the other side.
Here’s the bad news:
We don’t build resilience and tenacity through always winning at life.
It’s only tested, and hence strengthened, during trials, tribulations, and failures.
The good news is:
We can proactively do things along the way that will help us to become emotionally tougher.
- Taking positive action, as we mentioned above
- Seeking meaningful lessons from the difficulties we encounter, which we’ve also touched upon
- Building a more positive mindset, which we discussed at the start
- Learning how to take better care of ourselves — which brings me to the next point
7) Build your self-esteem
If we are to rely on ourselves, we have to believe in ourselves.
Prioritize self-care activities that nourish and support you.
Victimhood strips away at our self-belief so you have to learn to be gentle with yourself along the way.
It’s a tricky balance though, because that doesn’t mean feeling sorry for yourself or letting yourself off the hook.
It does mean working on your self-esteem so that you feel good about who you are and the life you are building.
Part of that must involve setting healthy boundaries.
Plenty of victims end up feeling hard done by because they let people walk all over them.
They are busy telling themselves it’s other people’s fault for treating them this way. But that means they’re not considering how they could (and should) be protecting themselves.
If you feel like people take advantage, maybe it’s you who needs to learn to say no.
Your life is your club, so you can set your own rules.
If someone doesn’t stick to them, they can’t be in your club.
Be the savior you deserve
As a final thought, recognize that nobody else is going to save you and it’s not their job to.
That’s not to say we cannot seek support along the way. Nobody has to go it alone.
But remember that change starts from within.
I know that some of these steps have involved plenty of tough love. But when we are stuck in self-pity it cripples us.
Shattering the illusions we’ve built up can be the best way to shake us back awake.
It’s not easy to stop looking to others and turn our attention back inside. But the hard work is worth it.
Take these steps and you’ll notice that you feel so much calmer and in control.
You’ll find that you stop looking for a hero, and can become your own savior.
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