“Why is this happening to me?” “Why can’t I catch a break?”
How often do we, as humans, throw up our hands and feel powerless. Frustrated. And trapped…?
It happens often, I know – not only from my own feelings of “Wow, another shoe has dropped?” but from how many of my clients through the years have come to me with this same exasperation when met with setbacks, challenges, and unexpected obstacles.
But one of the biggest disservices we can do to ourselves – and often we don’t even recognize it – is to go through our lives from the position of “victim.”
When you go through your life as a victim, life “happens” to you. You believe you have no responsibility for creating your circumstances, instead, others have acted “upon” you and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Looking at life through this lens sets us up for hurt, pain, anger, and fear.
“My God, the world is random and chaotic, I wonder what horrible thing is going to happen to me next?”
So what’s the answer?
Taking fierce personal responsibility for your experience.
Let me explain what I mean.
In almost all circumstances, we have either had a hand in CREATING the circumstance or pattern, or at least ALLOWING it.
Perhaps you didn’t set a boundary. Perhaps you compromised your truth for another. Perhaps you didn’t do your due diligence, perhaps you didn’t say no, perhaps you over-rode your gut and allowed yourself to fall prey to pleasing another.
Perhaps you didn’t prepare. Perhaps you left late. Perhaps you were rushed and made errors, perhaps you forgot to clarify, perhaps you simply didn’t express what you needed.
The path to taking back power is to courageously look at your role in the situation.
Now this doesn’t absolve other people of their part in what’s occurring. I’m certainly not saying that! Of course other people’s choices impact us daily.
But it is incredibly empowering to explore what you, personally, could have done differently (or could start doing differently now) to effect a different outcome.
Please be aware that acknowledging your part in something and truly taking responsibility for the ways in which you contributed to the situation is NOT an excuse to beat yourself up. It is not a justification for your Inner Critic to run wild. The key here is self-compassion. You are on a human journey here, and this is all a part of your evolvement!
Again, if you shift from blaming others to blaming yourself, you’ve compounded the problem.
And once you have taken inventory about your role regarding the things you are resentful, stressed, or upset about, you can determine how you will choose to do things differently. This would reflect a growth mindset, a mindset of ownership of your experience, and the capacity to make change.
You are now the proactive creative force in your life.
And as a final note, even in the rare situations where you have had almost nothing whatsoever to do with the circumstance (again, this is atypical), you always have the choice of how to relate to the situation – what narrative to tell yourself, what story to “assign” to what has occurred.
So even in a case like this, be mindful and purposeful in how you choose to respond to the event. You can tell a story of hope and possibility of what’s to happen from here, or one of despair and resignation.
The choice is yours.