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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

How to Stop Playing the Victim in Life And Fight for What You Want

How to Stop Playing the Victim in Life And Fight for What You Want
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It is no coincidence that superhero movies consistently win at the box office. Year after year, people flock to theaters to see the villain fall at the hands of an unlikely superhero as they munch on popcorn and drown out the hardships of the day.

What is the draw all about?

Perhaps the struggle on-screen represents the very same struggle we face when we wake up each morning. The choice to play the victim in our own lives. Will we succumb to the seemingly insurmountable challenges in our way or decide to get up and fight?

To be clear, there are very real challenges that we face. Life isn’t a Marvel movie. As COVID-19 sweeps across the world, we see loss, grief, pain, and suffering at every turn. The political landscape is bleak, families are navigating circumstances they have never faced before, and there are still all of the additional daily stresses that come with living life like business as usual.

Still, whether this is the first or third act of our lives, it is never too early or too late to decide to be our own hero.

1. Start by Validating Yourself—Your Pain Is Real

The circumstances surrounding our pain are challenging and have evoked strong emotions. Judging ourselves for our feelings doesn’t help.

“Self-validation is accepting our own internal experience, our thoughts, and our feelings. It doesn’t mean that we believe our thoughts or think our feelings are justified.”[1] However, it does mean that we are giving ourselves the space to acknowledge them, normalize them, and decide how best to proceed. By claiming our feelings, we take the first step in owning our process.

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2. Notice Your Limiting Beliefs

We know we are struggling, but have we unpacked the stories we are telling ourselves about why things can’t change? These stories are typically our limiting beliefs wrapped up in a narrative. Classicly, when we are playing the victim in our lives, we are acting out the limiting beliefs we hold about ourselves, others, and the world.[2]

“People just don’t like me; I’ll never fit in; I’ll never be promoted here; My boss is a jerk.”

Sound familiar? We are all guilty of defaulting to this place in moments of frustration. This part is human.

We are all hard-wired for a fixed mindset. It is only through practice and persistence that we can build a muscle for practicing a growth mindset in our daily lives. Researcher Carol Dweck tells us that when we believe we can learn new things, develop and grow, we excel in new and ever-changing ways.

3. Build Your Internal Locus of Control

“If a person has an internal locus of control, that person attributes success to his or her own efforts and abilities. A person who expects to succeed will be more motivated and more likely to learn.”[3]

When we point our finger at ourselves instead of toward the world, we build a case for our own agency. We should stop waiting for things to change. Instead, we should start actively taking steps to change things.

4. Challenge Your Habits, Try New Ones

Many of us might say “sure, easier said than done,” and we would be right. Changing our behavior takes time and consistency. We can’t just snap our fingers and suddenly have an internal locus of control.

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When we identify behaviors that no longer serve us and replace them with new ones that help us assert our power, we will begin to experience change.

Case in point: If I always say that I am not a good writer and that is why I have never started a blog, I may not be able to sit right down and launch my own blog. Instead, I should start with a daily commitment to journaling so that I can build in the direction of something I am willing to share publicly. Baby steps.

5. Look Around for Inspiration

Being a superhero gets tiring and sometimes we simply struggle to find our steam. Building new habits, changing our state of mind, and holding ourselves accountable take effort.

Enter an inspirational playlist. Find our favorite tunes on Spotify and jam out with fearless abandon.

Sounds silly? It’s not—whether you love spending time with friends laughing, a good inspirational quote, or time alone to recharge. These things matter! If we are asking ourselves to be a hero for the long haul, we have to keep the momentum going.

6. Allow Yourself to Mess Up

We can’t expect perfection, and it is easy to slip into old patterns. You probably have gotten used to losing in your own fight for some time. It is easy to go back to the blame game and think of all the reasons why you won’t be able to do this.

When we feel the limiting beliefs seeping in through the cracks, intervene quickly! Permitting yourself to mess up helps you to avoid playing the victim.

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7. Do the Things That Remind You of How Strong You Are

Go for a long walk, try an online workout or a massage, or do something we have always considered doing that’s outside of our comfort zone. When we prove to ourselves that we have the ability to surprise ourselves, we begin to open doors to what else is possible. Suddenly, the things that we always reserved for other people will become ours, too. Plus, the Serotonin helps!

8. Practice Restraint

There is a reason why we play the victim in the first place—it’s easier. There will be temptations and that will draw you from your path—external influences, old environments, or a desire to simply take a break. What you have to do is resist.

9. Celebrate Your Small Wins—Momentum Builds Momentum

We must notice each time we successfully approach the challenges at hand with a commitment to showing up for ourselves. Instead of feeling like a loser and playing the victim, lift your head and celebrate your small wins.

Each time you apologize without giving external excuses, take advantage of an invite to go somewhere you have never been, or speak our hopes out loud without fear of failure. This way, you are stepping into the life you were always meant for.

10. Note That You Are on Nobody’s Timeline but Your Own

Comparison is the enemy of progress, so don’t be distracted by what others are up to. Stay in touch with the “personal why” that drives you to build a life you love. With newfound resolve, push forward with attention to the fact that there may be collateral damage.

When you have been participating as a victim in your life, some people will not be ready to see you show up differently. Don’t be alarmed. You may have to teach others how to be part of your life in a new way. If they aren’t up for it, try not to take it too personally.

11. Set up Your Own Honor System

There will be hiccups in your path, so you should plan for how you will face these hiccups without making any excuses. Taking ownership means staying committed even when it’s not convenient. This also means taking responsibility and setting up your honor system.

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12. Design the Life You Want to Live

Let’s make a list of all of the things that we want for ourselves. With some direction, we can go out there and tackle them one thing at a time.

Do you want to start your own business? Say goodbye to a toxic friend? Find a new role with a better work-life balance? There is no limit to what is possible when we are dedicated to our agenda.

You are equipped with the skills you need to make our dreams come true, but don’t rush it. Take the time to enjoy the ride.

13. Make the Hard Choice

Agency is a tricky thing. Sometimes, the right thing to do and the hard thing to do are the same. There is no room for righteousness only if you want to stop playing the victim, especially when you have to make a difficult choice.

14. Maintain Your Humor

Laugh at life and laugh at yourself. Find the humor in everything, and you’ll slowly get rid of that mentality of playing the victim. The world is full of chaos, but it isn’t only chaos that exists. Maintaining your humor allows you to always see the bright side of things.

15. Don’t Look Back

You made it this far, and you don’t want your efforts to go to waste. Choosing to show up differently to the world takes bravery, and you have plenty to be proud of.

The only guarantee in life is that things will always change, and there will always be new mountains to climb. Let’s remember our capes when we leave the house.

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Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, we can wait to be rescued or we can put one foot in front of the other doing the best we can with what we’ve got. We will mess up, and there will be mascara smeared. But someday, we will thank ourselves for every day we got up and tried.

More to Strengthen Your Mind

Featured photo credit: Carolina Heza via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Psychology Today: Self-Validation
[2] Inc.: Three Types of Limiting Beliefs
[3] Psychology Today: Locus of Control

More by this author

Staci Taustine

Founder & CEO, Stubborn Heart Consulting LLC.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

17 Traits That Make a Successful Person Stand out from the Crowd

17 Traits That Make a Successful Person Stand out from the Crowd
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If you are like most people, you probably have big goals and dreams that you would like to succeed in — you want to be the top in your career, live a healthy lifestyle, or flourish in your relationships.

Everyone dreams of a positive future, but most people don’t realize the secret to a truly successful life:

You determine your future in the way you spend your everyday moments. If you want to be a successful person, you must consistently develop good daily habits. As Aristotle pointed out:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”.

Building positive daily habits is a huge challenge, but can you imagine the amazing things you could accomplish with just a little commitment and determination?

Creating lasting, healthy habits is the real key difference between people who are successful in life and those who are unsuccessful.

You might be wondering which specific habits make the biggest difference. Not to worry, I’ve compiled a comparison list to help you get a jump start on a successful future.

1. Successful people embrace change. Unsuccessful people fear change.

Change is a constant for all of humanity, and it is important that you develop a positive relationship with it.

When unexpected or unwelcome changes arise, ask yourself how you can embrace it instead of running away. A few practical ways to reverse a change-fearing mindset include:

  • Take a moment to recognize and address any fears associated with the upcoming change.
  • Communicate with a person you trust about your negative feelings toward change.
  • Practice positive thinking, which you can read about in the next section.

2. Successful people exude joy. Unsuccessful people think, say and do negative things.

A joyful, positive disposition can seem like a distant reality in today’s cynical world, but it may be easier to achieve than you think. All you have to do is notice the good things around you and practice being thankful.

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Mindfulness and gratitude are not just buzz words – choosing a positive attitude can honestly change your life. Many studies have found that thankfulness leads to greater happiness. Furthermore, research indicates that gratitude may even have a lasting positive impact on the brain and overall mental health.[1]

3. Successful people forgive others. Unsuccessful people hold grudges.

As a human being, you have likely been offended or hurt by others plenty of times. Don’t give in to the temptation to hold a grudge. Let it go.

Note that forgiving someone does not equate to giving up your boundaries (which are very important) or even admitting that the offending party is right. You should choose to let go for your own peace of mind.

4. Successful people track progress. Unsuccessful people just criticize.

Some kinds of criticism, such as constructive criticism, are good for personal and professional development. The kind of criticism I’m talking about is the pessimistic, nagging, unhelpful variety. This is the kind of criticism in play when you are unfairly harsh to yourself or others.

Toss unfounded criticisms aside and consider tracking your “wins” or your progresses, no matter how small. Take mental notes or keep a progress journal.

If you have a solid sense of what you have achieved, you will be less tempted to be hard on yourself.

5. Successful people share information, data and ideas. Unsuccessful people hoard.

If you have useful information or generate brilliant ideas on the regular, your first instinct may be to keep it all to yourself for personal gain and solo recognition.

Instead of hoarding bright ideas, share them with your team. Your talents will be on display for the team, and the team will be able to support you and make your ideas a reality.

6. Successful people are humble. Unsuccessful people talk more than they listen.

Humility is key. The ability to listen to other people, really listen and understand, is essential to success in both work and relationships — and to listen you have to be humble.

Everyone has experienced the frustration of being in a one-sided conversation. When someone approaches you with a question or concern, put your own world aside for just a moment and give them the kindness of your full attention.

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7. Successful people take risks. Unsuccessful people take the easy way out.

The next time your heart is racing and you want to walk away, consider embracing the risk. You never know what might happen if you take a chance.

Embracing risks looks like accepting the speaking engagement even though it seems a little scary. Success takes the courageous route, not the easy route.

8. Successful people learn, improve and read every day. Unsuccessful people stop learning.

Instead of binge-watching a show tonight, save an hour before bed to read a book and expand your mind.

Unsuccessful people are afraid to be flexible – they don’t challenge themselves to learn new things. Avoid this pitfall by exposing yourself to new thoughts and ideas every day.

9. Successful people handle problems well. Unsuccessful people act before they think.

The next time you run into a problem or even an emergency, try to work through your initial panic reaction with a few deep breaths.

Instead of acting rashly, think through your next actions as quickly but as logically as you can.

Learning to handle problems thoughtfully is an absolutely essential tool in the successful person’s toolbox (that’s you!).

10. Successful people accept responsibility for their failures. Unsuccessful people blame others.

Along with a previous tip about humility, this is one of the hardest things you’ll ever learn to do – but also the most rewarding. When you’ve failed, you must fight the urge to pass the blame. Successful people are able to fail honestly and gracefully.

And, hey, don’t feel bad about failing. Some of the most successful people in the world have failed too many times to count. It’s all a part of the process.

You can check out this article for more tips on how to fail well:

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How Failure Helps You To Succeed and Grow

11. Successful people work with passion and commitment. Unsuccessful people have a sense of entitlement.

A short and sweet lesson for you:

You should never expect to achieve the things you want without working hard.

Follow your passion and stay committed to pursuing it. Work hard and stick to your habits every day. You’ll earn your reward.

12. Successful people spend time with the right people. Unsuccessful people think they already know it all.

A lot of people miss out on useful relationships and information sharing because they think they can do it all alone.

Spend time with people who inspire you, spur you to be a better person, and remind you that you can’t go it alone.

13. Successful people make to-do lists and maintain proper life balance. Unsuccessful people waste their time.

Ah, time management. Unsuccessful people never master the art of organization and planning.

Here are a few tips for you when it comes to time management:

  • Make to-do lists. Seriously, this will help you. Make time to do it every morning, evening, or whenever you are able.
  • Keep track of your time. Are you happy with the way you are currently balancing things? What changes can you make?
  • Keep a calendar full of your long-term goals (see next tip).

14. Successful people write down goals and think long term about their burning desires. Unsuccessful people get distracted every day.

Why is it so important to keep a long-term goal calendar? Here’s the deal:

The things you are passionate about today need a backbone.

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Give your passionate ideas sustainability by writing down goals and staying on task instead of succumbing to distraction.

15. Successful people compliment others. Unsuccessful people try to bring others down to their level.

There is no greater confidence than saying “no” to sudden jealous or envious feelings and choosing to sincerely admire someone’s talents instead.

Unsuccessful people live in a world driven by competition, but successful people know that building people up is far more rewarding than bringing them down.

16. Successful people want others to succeed. Unsuccessful people secretly hope they fail.

In the same vein as the point above, this tip is all about good intentions.

Care for the people around you. Encourage them toward their successes. Hoping that others fail will not help you at all.

17. Successful people know their purpose and mission. Unsuccessful people don’t know what they want to be.

The last thing that differentiates successful people from unsuccessful people is one of the most important:

Keep your mission in mind.

Don’t be swayed to and fro by passing emotions and events. Know who you are and pursue your dreams wholeheartedly.

Final thoughts

Above all, stay confident. Truly believe that you can be and are successful. Strive to prove it in your day-to-day habits and activities!

What are you waiting for? Choose one of the habits above and get started today.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Berkeley University of California: How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain

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