How to Stop Feeling Like a VictimYou have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. ~Dr. Seuss
I’m outing myself.
For many years I chose to live seeing mostly the fear and scarcity that I believed was controlling me.
I couldn’t make enough money. I couldn’t sustain a loving, healthy relationship for any length of time. And my business wasn’t successful, even though I was running myself ragged, working nights, struggling to get my business operational during the day, and taking care of my daughter 24/7.
(I’m still a little embarrassed to say that the business I was trying to build was all about guiding women to those very same things my life was lacking! Talk about putting the cart before the horse!)
But what happens, happens – right? We can put our best efforts and intentions out there, but we can’t control the outcome.
Then again, we might be able to influence it a little.
It turns out that the way we choose to look at things can have a very BIG effect on them. Dr. Viktor Frankl, author of “Man’s Search for Meaning,” writes that we all have choice—even if it’s only the choice of a new perspective, a different way of thinking about things than we might ordinarily see.
Yes, what happens, happens. But we always have a choice about how to SEE what happens—as in the “glass half-full or half-empty” philosophy. And here’s the neat part—what we focus on, we notice more of!
My boyfriend is a wicked Jets fan. And football is something I have never paid any attention to; but this season, I decided to support him by learning more about the game. I even bought my 7 year-old daughter a Jets t-shirt to wear on game days. And you know what happened?
Now I see people wearing Jets t-shirts…everywhere.
Are more people all of a sudden displaying their love for the Jets? I don’t think so. What happened is that I am more aware of them, have started thinking more about them, and as a result, SEE more Jets support, all around me.
Why does this work? For many of us, we’re so stuck in patterns of belief, in habitual and old stories we tell ourselves, in fear even, that we don’t realize that we have the power to choose our own perspective.
And as demonstrated in the 2006 film The Secret —which I’ve noticed for myself as I work through this— we not only see more of what we train ourselves to be become conscious of, we also actually attract more of it ! That could be anything from Jets fans to good-paying job opportunities.
Are you ready to look at your life differently?
You will know when you are not putting your conscious powers of perspective to their best use if you are feeling any of the following:
Do any of these symptoms feel familiar to you? I used to notice SO many of them for myself! And it would make me feel really awful — why couldn’t I get all the pieces together? Why couldn’t I keep all the balls in the air? What couldn’t I create for myself what I was so good at helping other women create?
I could sense that a key piece of the puzzle for me was that I wasn’t managing my own energy—I was letting myself get sucked into the vicious cycle of self-incrimination and self-loathing, of feeling as if I couldn’t handle my life and make it work for me. But it was REALLY hard to get that ball rolling—like trying to lift a rock up when you’re lying UNDER it.
What helped? How did I get leverage?
First of all, I admitted that I was totally fed up with feeling that way—so much so that I was ready to do almost anything to change the pattern for myself.
My second step was to work at noticing when I was choosing to see things negatively and then quickly replace those thoughts with a more positive perspective.
Here’s an example: at the supermarket check-out, I had to put 3 items back because I didn’t have enough money. At first I got upset that I didn’t have enough to pay for those 3 things. But I caught myself and instead chose to give thanks for still having enough money to buy three bags of healthy, organic food for myself and my daughter! How blessed!
My third step – and this is something I do now on a daily basis is to literally re-train my brain by choosing my thoughts and repeating them to myself. The tool I use is EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques or tapping, as some folks call it), and if you’re interested in trying it I recommend watching the awesome videos of Brad Yates on YouTube – he’s my favorite.
And lastly, I make a habit of an Abundance List. Every night before I go to bed I write down everything special thing I have been grateful for that day: that penny on the street, the sunlight I got to walk around in, the extra hug from my kid, the smile from the old man on the park bench, the cuddle from my dog, the early bedtime I gave myself the night before.
So here are the steps for you to take:
- Declare your intention out loud: “I am no longer willing to be unhappy and experience my life this way.”
- Manage your energy: build awareness of negativity and consciously choose to change your point of view.
- Retrain your brain: use affirmations, EFT, or any other tool that works for you to teach your brain to see things the way you choose to see them without slipping into a default setting just because it’s comfortable or familiar.
- Focus on gratitude: take a little time each evening to list the things you have been grateful for that day.
What will you choose to see — and have — more of in your life today? Be conscious and proactive and decisive — and then make it happen.