Thursday, February 25, 2010

Victim or Victory?

My friend, Chloe sailed through medical school almost effortlessly, much like she had through most of her academic life. A facile mind, love of medicine and compassionate nature seemed like the ideal qualities for the naturopathic physician to begin a successful practice. She passed her boards, gained experience through an externship and set out to make her way as a healer.

However, rather than dive into her profession, Chloe sputtered and hemmed and hawed and found every excuse imaginable to fail. Chloe recognized she had self defeating behavior, but felt she couldn’t control it. Her list of who to blame was long, as were her excuses.

Chloe’s reasoning is not unique. Adopting a victim mentality is common place. Unfortunately, it is not an effective tool for achieving your dreams or improving your health. Most of us want to improve our lives. Sadly, many times we do not because we cannot break free from our own self-defeating shackles of victimhood.

In my new book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within, one chapter is devoted to overcoming a victim mentality. Here is a sneak peak at some advice to help erase the victim in your life and embrace victory instead:

• Don’t blame others for your problems.
Lose the victim mentality and take responsibility for your life – bumps and all. Life is not something that is handed to you, it is something you create. Adopt a proactive approach that shifts from “What can I get?” to “What can I contribute?”
• Align yourself with people, situations or organizations that can help put you on a successful path.

Ask yourself, “What am I focusing on?” If it’s not positive, redirect your thoughts.

Focusing on negative thoughts and situations is like counting your neighbors money. Sure, you can do it (if they allow it) but what good will come of it? It’s not going to increase your bank account one bit, no matter how much time you put into it.

• Take responsibility and find ways to succeed.

If people put more energy into solving problems instead of whining about them, all of our lives would be easier. When Thomas Alva Edison was experimenting with the correct filament for his light bulb, he was unsuccessful more than 1,000 times. Rather than becoming discouraged he is quoted as saying, “We now know a thousand ways not to build a light bulb”. What an enlightened concept!

• Forgive.

Victims are often shackled by their inability, or unwillingness to forgive others or themselves. Harboring resentments, even those that seem justified, do not help the situation. In fact, it makes it worse. Corrie Ten Boom said, "Forgiveness is setting the prisoner free, only to find out that the prisoner was me.” We cannot change the past. Forgive others, or yourself, and move on. Your heart will be lighter and you will be able to pursue happier endeavors.

So if you are guilty of having a victim mentality (and I did for many years) give the “victim” the boot and embrace a victorious life instead.

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