Reflect for a moment on when you feel powerless and the victim of your circumstances? What thoughts and feeling dominate and what influence do they have on the way you choose to behave? How often do you feel hard done by or ill treated by the people you live or work with? Do you allow these emotions to undermine your judgment and behaviour? Do you choose to give up and allow events or people to stand in the way of you achieving what you set out to do?
While of course life can at times throw serious challenges at us, we need to be honest with ourselves about how often we choose to play the victim role and give in to others or our circumstances. Acknowledge if you waste emotional energy investing in issues that have little real impact on your ability to lead a happy and fulfilled life. Understand how you respond when things get tough – do you back away or do you meet adversity with courage and conviction?
Three of the most important things you can do to avoid playing the victim role include choosing to 1) take control, 2) stop making excuses and 3) keep things in perspective.
While working in HR and leadership roles, running my own business, being a Mum, an athlete, a wife, a daughter, a sister and friend have collectively taught me is that we all face challenges in life. I am yet to meet anyone who hasn’t gone through difficult times, who hasn’t needed to find courage and strength to keep striving to achieve their goals and create the life they want. If you believe some people are blessed and miraculously avoid pain, discomfort or fear I encourage you to think again.
Even when people appear to have it all, they don’t. Some people may have money but they don’t have love, some are surrounded by love but can’t afford to put food on the table. While some of us lead ‘ordinary’ lives with few dramatic battles or hardships, we can still find ourselves stressed or anxious. These every day challenges of life are in no small way impacted by the way we choose to see our reality and our beliefs about the extent to which we are in control.
The only control any of us really have in life is over the choices we make. That’s is the way we choose to think, feel and act. Yes choosing to feel angry, resentful, powerless or repressed are options available to us. But even in the most challenging of circumstances we are wise to question the value any of these emotions add.
Stop Making Excuses
In most circumstances you are likely to be able to point to things outside of your control that are undermining your ability to succeed. Excuses we, and often others, can choose to accept for why we haven’t achieved a goal, overcome an obstacle or progressed a priority. What we can also typically find if we look closely enough are ways in which we are able to influence our circumstances and create the outcomes we want and need to.
How we choose to perceive our circumstances and the power we have to influence our reality ultimately determines how we respond. Giving up is a certain path to failure and placing blame on people, events or conditions ultimately surrenders any power we do have over to them. Don’t allow excuses to stand in your way and challenge the limit beliefs that hold you back from doing what you need to.
Keep things in perspective
Maintaining perspective on what is really difficult and what we are choosing to exaggerate is a challenge many of us face. In a stressful moment it can be hard to see if the issues worrying us are in fact insignificant; particularly when compared to the circumstances many other people endure.
Reflect on how often you have found yourself caught up in problems that have later proven to be easily solved. Have you chosen to feel helpless when in fact the support you needed was there all along. Have you spent time and energy worrying about issues that are surmountable or in deed inconsequential?
Keeping things in perspective is essential to our ability to manage stress and remain calm. Only then are we able to clear our mind and see fully the options in front of us. With understanding our options comes the ability to make good decisions that allow us to thrive through difficult circumstances.
- Recognise when you are playing the victim role
- Step up to the challenges you face and retain control of your life
- Have courage and strive to create the life and career you really want
- Confront your fears and the limiting beliefs that hold you back
- Have respect for yourself and choose not to allow other people to dominate or intimidate you
- Think and feel optimistic