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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

More by this author

Staci Taustine

Founder & CEO, Stubborn Heart Consulting LLC.

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Last Updated on March 2, 2021

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Overcome Your Fear

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Overcome Your Fear

The ability to take risks by stepping outside your comfort zone is the primary way by which we grow. But we are often afraid to take that first step.

In truth, comfort zones are not really about comfort, they are about fear. Break the chains of fear to get outside. Once you do, you will learn to enjoy the process of taking risks and growing in the process.

Here are 10 ways to help you step out of your comfort zone and get closer to success.

1. Become Aware of What’s Outside of Your Comfort Zone

What are the things that you believe are worth doing but, are afraid of doing yourself because of the potential for disappointment or failure?

Draw a circle and write those things down outside the circle. This process will not only allow you to clearly identify your discomforts but, your comforts. Write identified comforts inside the circle.

2. Become Clear About What You Are Aiming to Overcome

Take the list of discomforts and go deeper. Remember, the primary emotion you are trying to overcome is fear.

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How does this fear apply uniquely to each situation? Be very specific.

Are you afraid of walking up to people and introducing yourself in social situations? Why? Is it because you are insecure about the sound of your voice? Are you insecure about your look? Or, are you afraid of being ignored?

3. Get Comfortable with Discomfort

One way to get outside of your comfort zone is to literally expand it. Make it a goal to avoid running away from discomfort.

Let’s stay with the theme of meeting people in social settings. If you start feeling a little panicked when talking to someone you’ve just met, try to stay with it a little longer than you normally would before retreating to comfort. If you stay long enough and practice often enough, it will start to become less uncomfortable.

Here’re some tips to help you: How to Overcome Your Resistance to Change for a Better Self

4. See Failure as a Teacher

Many of us are so afraid of failure that we would rather do nothing than take a shot at our dreams.

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Begin to treat failure as a teacher. What did you learn from the experience? How can you take that lesson to your next adventure to increase your chance of success?

Many highly successful people failed plenty of times before they succeeded. Check out these 10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On.

Also, grab The Foolproof Guide To Reaching Your Goals This Year. It’s a free guide that can help you to learn from your past mistakes and failures so you can move on to reach your goal. Get your free guide here.

5. Take Baby Steps

Don’t try to jump outside your comfort zone, you will likely become overwhelmed and jump right back in.

Take small steps toward the fear you are trying to overcome. If you want to do public speaking, start by taking every opportunity to speak to small groups of people. You can even practice with family and friends.

Take a look at this article on how you can start taking baby steps: The Number One Secret to Life Success: Baby Steps

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6. Hang out with Risk Takers

There is no substitute for this step. If you want to become better at something, you must start hanging out with the people who are doing what you want to do and start emulating them. Almost inevitably, their influence will start to have an effect on your behavior.

Here’re 8 Reasons Why Risk Takers Are More Likely To Be Successful.

7. Be Honest with Yourself When You Are Trying to Make Excuses

Don’t say “Oh, I just don’t have the time for this right now.” Instead, be honest and say “I am afraid to do this.”

Don’t make excuses, just be honest. You will be in a better place to confront what is truly bothering you and increase your chance of moving forward.

8. Identify How Stepping out Will Benefit You

What will the ability to engage in public speaking do for your personal and professional growth? Keep these potential benefits in mind as motivations to push through fear.

9. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

Learn to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes. Risk taking will inevitably involve failure and setbacks that will sometimes make you look foolish to others. Be happy to roll with the punches when others poke fun.

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If you aren’t convinced yet, check out these 6 Reasons Not to Take Life So Seriously.

10. Focus on the Fun

Enjoy the process of stepping outside your safe boundaries. Enjoy the fun of discovering things about yourself that you may not have been aware of previously.

Final Thoughts

It will seem really scary at first to get out of your comfort zone. But as I said, you don’t need to jump right out of your comfort zone at once, you can take baby steps gradually.

As you slowly push past your comfort zone, you’ll feel more and more at ease about the new stuff which seemed so dangerous to you.

Take the first step and I’m sure you’ll make it!

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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