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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

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.

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

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Staci Taustine

Career Guide, Teal HQ

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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

20 Pieces of Life-Changing Advice You Can Actually Learn From Your Daily Life

20 Pieces of Life-Changing Advice You Can Actually Learn From Your Daily Life

Only 24 hours, yet so much goes on in that time span. You go about your day, going through the boring and often dramatic events. How often do you stop to realize that each hour of your day is packed with life-changing wisdom? Sure, there are the big events that punch you in the gut. The lessons from those are hard to ignore, but there are also many mundane things that happen in a day that also have a lot to teach you, if you become aware of them.

1. You have the opportunity to make a difference in the world and in yourself. Make the day meaningful.

Waking up Every morning you are given another chance to think about your purpose in life. Before you get out of bed, take a moment to realize that you have been given the gift of a brand new day. How can you make it meaningful?

2.  Breathe your way to a calmer, healthier, happier life.

Breathing. You do it all day but unless you’re a regular meditator, yogi, or tri-athlete, you probably don’t pay much attention to your breath. Yet, breathing is the source of life. Learning to breath properly can relieve anxiety and stress, prevent illness, improve your sleep, help you manage your pain, lower high blood pressure, promote weight loss, and has many more benefits.

3. Start the chain reaction of positive tasking.

Make your bed. If you’re a neat person, making the bed is something that’s easy for you. But if you are the type of person who rushes out the door at the last minute, making the bed is the last thing you think about. It’s time to re-think that. There are many lessons in the making of your bed. Didn’t your mother tell you, “The way you make your bed is the way you sleep in it?” I never understood what that meant but I knew there was profound wisdom in it. I’m sure “sleep” was a metaphor for life. So listen to your mother, if you want to have a smooth life, make your bed.

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4. Most things are not as bad as you think they are.

Washing the dishes. Did you know it takes only one minute to wash a pan, two knives, one fork, a cutting board and a bowl? See for yourself. Time it. Instead of turning your back on that stack of dirty dishes in the sink, invest a minute and wash them. You’ll feel so much better if you do. Don’t make things worse than they really are.

5. Smaller problems are much easier to manage than larger problems.

Not putting your things away. Piles are easy to accumulate. Clothing, paper, bathroom towels, whatever your piles may be, your piles say a lot about you. It’s easy to accumulate piles in our private homes, no one sees them, but you should. Is that really how your want your life to be? One big stack of piles? It’s much easier to put away one towel, one t-shirt, or one piece than it is to put away a huge stack of them. Take care of things when they are small.

6.  Be considerate of others.

Arriving on time. You start out on schedule but soon things get in the way. The dog pukes, you can’t find your cell phone, and the baby needs a diaper change and before you realize it, you’re twenty minutes late. People are waiting for you either at a meeting, a restaurant, or at the airport. As they wait, the negative comments about your tardiness start. Is that how you want others to view you? Set aside extra time for things to go wrong because it is most likely they will.

7.  Dress for success

Getting dressed. Every morning you have a small portion of time set aside to pick out how you want to present yourself for the rest of the day. This simple (or sometimes not so simple) task has a lot riding on it. As much as we don’t want to believe it, it’s true. People are judged by the way they look. It’s that first impression when you walk in the room that says, “Here I am.” Your clothes are your opportunity to make your personal statement. How do you want to present yourself to the world?

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8. Start your day caring for your health.

Eating a healthy breakfast. You probably pop a pod into your coffee machine and grab a power bar as you are running out the door. It can’t be avoided; all the experts and studies say it is true. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. It’s also the most time-consuming when you have the least amount of extra time. It can’t be denied, how you eat breakfast says a lot about you.

9.  The power of habit can transform your life.

Brushing your teeth. You may not realize it but besides a fresh, minty mouth you have just engaged the power of habit, a pattern that shapes every aspect of your life. A pattern that you also have the power to transform many areas of your life. If you can brush your teeth everyday at the same time, you can accomplish anything you want to.

10. Judge others favorably. You never know what battle they are fighting.

Driving, riding the train, or taking the bus. These are the times that someone will surely upset you. People will bump into you, cut you off, take the seat you were going to sit it, and not hold the door open for you. Transportation usually brings out the worst in people. This is your opportunity to not get bothered by other people’s bad manners. You are the one who will suffer. Your day will be ruined because they didn’t even notice they bumped into you, cut you off, or took the seat you were going to sit in.

11. Your moods are contagious. Share positive energy.

Walking into a room. Whenever you walk through the door of a meeting, your office or home, you have the chance to determine how you want people to respond to you. The energy you give off, is the energy that will come back to you. Moods are contagious. Bring positive energy into a room.

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12. An organized life is a calmer life.

Time management. Stay on schedule when possible. It’s easy to become distracted by your devices. Our beeps go off all day. Facebook, Instagram, and Vines are magnets that draw you away from your tasks. Either shut them down when you’re working in something important or glance at them and then get back to work. Don’t get hooked by them. If you are knocked off your work track, get back on it.

13. Respect other people’s opinions even when they differ from your own.

Conflict. It’s rare that two people will agree on most topics. Conflict is everywhere. It happens at work, home, with family and friends. Disagreeing isn’t the problem (although most people think it is). The problem is in not giving value to the opinions of others.

14. When you master your emotions, you master your life

Anger. This is one emotion that is sure to pop up sometime during the day. How you deal with your anger says a lot about who you are as a person. How well do you manage your emotions? Do you speak nasty to the waitress who messed up your lunch order? Do you have a harsh reaction if someone says something insulting to you? Anger can be a destructive emotion if not managed properly.

15.  Love your body. Take good care of it.

Exercise. Going to the gym, yoga or spin class is a statement saying that you love yourself. You are saying, I care about my body and my health and I want to take the best care of myself that I possibly can.

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16. A healthy social life is pure happiness.

Social Activities. Lunchtime or dinnertime with friends or family is a soul-full intimate experience. It warms the heart. Take time to surround yourself with the warmth of family and friends. They are there to support you, encourage you, and love you no matter what.

17.  Speech is a powerful tool.

Your words. Watch your words carefully. They can be daggers or cheerleaders. You can crush the spirit of someone or make them feel like they can conquer the world. Taste your words before you spit them out. Words are your thoughts coming to life. It’s your choice. Do you want to show that your are nice or nasty?

18. Your thoughts become what you are. What you think, you believe.

Your thoughts. All day, it’s just you and your thoughts. Do you sound like your best friend or the high school bully? Negative thinking is an easy pattern to fall into. It is also a harmful one. Your thoughts are your reactions to everything that goes on in your life. Treat them with extreme caution. Negative thoughts damage your happiness.

19. Touch someone’s soul with your kindness

Random Acts of Kindness. It’s the little things in life that matter most. Hold a door, smile at people, buy someone a gift, and don’t forget to call your mother. Kindness touches the soul of another person. Everyone has a battle they are fighting. Your simple act of kindness soothes someone else’s pain. You have reached the highest level of your spiritual self. Your life has meaning.

20. Each day is filled with endless opportunities to show people how much you care, appreciate, and value them.

Show people you love them Everyone knows how to tell someone “I love you” but do your actions match your words? Are you showing someone how much they are loved? The day is filled with many opportunities to cook someone you love their favorite meal, go out of your way to help someone in need, or simply being by the side of a crying friend.

Live awake and aware to the lessons of of your day. They have a lot to tell you.

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