victim-menta


Some of the victims remain spellbound forever, but others are destined to be saved.

Joseph Campbell


Yup. It’s Monday again.

Hope your week is starting out as calm and centered as possible!

Actually, fall is my favourite season so I’ve just been loving having walks around the lake by my place.

It is so perfect.

I’m also working away on my blog and website more and more and am just loving the writing process and sharing ideas.

There’s a lot of exciting things coming up so stay tuned!

Anyway, I decided to write this post because I thought it would be interesting to unpack the idea of having a “victim mentality”.


“There is no path to happiness. Happiness is the path.”

Gautam Buddha


WHEN ARE WE “VICTIMS”?

Horrible things happen to people.

Atrocious things.

Life is full of unexpected, and sometimes deeply disturbing realities that are hard to make sense of.

As a counsellor, I feel that when we go through difficult times, we must receive the time, support, and meaningful connection we need to get through them.

After all, we all have overwhelming experiences in life and, undeniably, these times can sometimes take years to sort out.

It can be extremely harmful to blame ourselves for these events, or shouldering the responsibility for them.

Anyway, it really doesn’t make sense to blame ourselves, as you will see further along in this post.

But this isn’t what I mean when I refer to a victim mentality. I’m not talking about acknowledging and dealing with negative things that happen in our lives.

What I’m really talking about is a deeply internalized, negative view of the self in relation to the world, that could be preventing us from feeling more empowered.

I’m talking about a victim mentality that is not a result of terrible events in life, but one that is embedded in our beliefs about ourselves and the world.

In A Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell says the following about refusing the call to the adventure of life:

 

“Walled in boredom, hard work, or culture,

the subject loses the power of significant affirmative action

and becomes a victim to be saved.”

 

In many ways, society encourages a victim mentality by focusing our attention on interests other than our own meaningful calling. To sell us the newest product, the underlying message advertised is,

“You are not happy

… because of sagging skin

….because you don’t have enough money

… because you aren’t smart enough

… because of your current government

… because of your past”

 

When we buy into these messages, we can’t really improve our lives in meaningful ways because on some level, we are waiting for some magical product, idea, or lifestyle to come save us from our unhappiness.  

If only I can find the perfect face cream, or job, or person. Then I’ll be happy.

We place all the responsibility for our happiness on something outside of ourselves.


We have heard that we must view challenges in life as learning experiences.

However, this is pretty much impossible when we have an underlying victim mentality.

When we feel we are victims of our circumstances, we take the view that negative things are happening to us, rather than as a part of a larger whole. We take negative events personally and we don’t allow any learning or empowerment to happen.

We ask ourselves, “Why is this happening to me? Haven’t I been a good person?”

Then we search for some bad guy (real or symbolic) to pin our negative experiences on.

This becomes a pattern so that it becomes more and more difficult to see when we do have the  power to change.

Conversely, we are not 100% responsible for the outcomes of our choices since we are only one factor out of many that creates it.

However, even our small choices today can create immense changes in our future.


It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wings

can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world.

Chaos theory


WE ARE POWERFUL BECAUSE WE ARE CONNECTED TO ALL THINGS

I believe that we exist in a dynamic reality, where all things are connected.

Therefore, we always have at least a small part in the way events unfold.

Whatever you choose to call it, whether it be the butterfly effect, or energies, or Newton’s third law, we do make a difference because we exist.

We need to recognize this in order to be active in improving our lives.

Whether the world wants us to recognize it or not, as our choices compound, we have power to create a more fulfilling future for ourselves.


Don’t look for a hero. Be your own hero.


One of the most heartbreaking things for me is when I meet someone who believes there is not a lot they can do to change their current circumstances when they have so much to offer the world. It’s really sad when deeply internalized beliefs from society convince us that that we are victims in our life story. 

Haven’t you had that experience? When you look at someone you love and value and they don’t recognize their greatness? As years go by, they tell themselves that x, y, and z are preventing them from creating a happier future.

It’s really difficult to undo all the programming that has convinced us that we are powerless and limited.

Let’s continue to empower ourselves by reminding ourselves that we are an essential part of this dynamic whole we call life, and when we consciously make decisions, our influence has the power to move mountains.