Updated: Nov 20, 2020
Let's talk about a victim mindset— what it is, how it hurts us, and what we can do to change it.
We recently kicked off our weekly book clubs, and the feedback from readers about the book has been unreal. They keep telling me the book makes them feel understood, like someone else actually gets what they're going through. In addition to that, they're discovering new ways to view life and strategies to start feeling better.
One of the big perspective shifts I bring up in the book is having a victim mindset vs a victor mindset.
"All I could see was everything that was going wrong in my life, and I became blind to anything that was going right. I ended up believing that my life was pointless because I couldn't get everything perfect.
This is called having a victim mentality, when you automatically assume all bad things that happen are specifically targeted towards you. You also choose to focus on the negative in every situation, rather than appreciate the positive."
Being a victim is how we would automatically react to negative events if we never stopped to work on our emotions. It's in our nature as humans to find what is wrong in a situation, and to focus on that. Especially as a teenager when you are exposed to more life challenges than ever before, it may seem easier to always resort to thinking about how everything sucks.
I still find myself doing that sometimes, and then I remember— it takes way more energy to argue for your limitations than it does to just let go and move on. Once you learn that being a victor is also an option, you'll find yourself wanting to choose that mentality more often.
"Having a victor mentality means always finding a way to succeed no matter what challenges are thrown at you. Be the one who looks for a solution and helps create something of value rather than tearing others down."
Even if it seems easier to be a victim, it feels better to be a victor.
You make a decision everyday if you want to be a victim or victor. Here's an example for something small: You're on your way to school and you realize that you forgot your lunch at home. If that were me before I learned about victor vs victim mindsets, I would have gotten upset, annoyed, and anxious. I would have convinced myself that I was doomed to have an awful day, and I would refuse to eat anything else until I got home.
If I acted that way, I would have been purposely filling myself with negative energy and putting a damper on an otherwise perfectly fine day. However, in a moment like that, I also have the option to have a victor mindset. I could say "Ugh that sucks, and I wish that didn't happen, but there's nothing I can do about it now. At least I have food to eat, I'll just get something at school or from the vending machine and then have an extra delicious meal when I get home." A response like that frees me to still enjoy my day without holding on to a grudge that I made for myself.
Your level of happiness really is determined by your response to events, not the actual events that happen to us.
Granted, this can be harder for more serious hardships, but for now, just try it out with daily occurences, like even homework. I know we've all been guilty of putting that off and stressing over it. I understand that it's hard and that online school isn't helping you learn the material in the way you need to. Try looking at it this way though: you have homework to get done, and you can either stress yourself out about it and agonize about it for hours, or you can just do your best and get it over with and then go on to enjoy the rest of your evening.
Just try it and see how you feel! If you want to learn more about this kind of stuff, you can get a copy of my book here.