It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary. – Mandy Hale
What is victim mentality? It is an acquired personality trait in which a person resides in a continual state of belief that they are a victim of the negative actions of others. People with a victim mentality believe that this is their reality even if evidence exists that is contrary to their beliefs.
What victim mentality can look like in day to day to life is a person that is engrossed in blaming other people for the way that they behave or feel, rather than taking responsibility for their actions. The ‘victim’ fails to realize that they should have a mindset of being in control of their thoughts and emotions, and have a personal dialogue that resembles this: I can only be who I am. _______’s behavior cannot force me into feeling distraught (upset, angry, frustrated, etc.). Regardless of what they are doing, feeling, or saying, I have control of my reactions. I am not the victim…I am fully in charge of ME!
Victim Mentality Erodes Emotional Well-Being
Having a victim mentality can erode our emotional well-being. Those that possess a victim mentality are often frustrated and angry. They trudge through life mentally stomping and dragging their feet. They often verbalize that they are having a horrible day (or life) because someone has mistreated them so badly, yet, they typically do not stop and realize that they are the one that can live in the moment and have a mindset that permeates with contentment and joy regardless of the thoughts or words of others. They fail to take ownership of their own emotions.
My Own Story
My personal story about victim mentality took place in the corporate world. The owner of the business where I was employed worked offsite. He often got upset with those of us that managed his in-person offices.
Frequently, we started our mornings in receipt of “big red-letter emails.” It got to the point that I hated to turn my computer on. I constantly thought that my world was going to end, right there in that office. This was an extreme exaggeration on my part, of course, but I felt every inch of it.
I allowed the huge capitalized red letter emails to ruin my day(s) and my nights. I constantly waited for the ball of doom to drop even though I was a good worker. I operated that back-office totally in charge, and I did my very best. I never received any threat or indication that my job was on the line. It was a perceived threat, not a real one that I could validate.
At that time, I was meeting with a life coach (outside of my job). In one of our sessions, she asked me if she could tell me what she was thinking, and of course, I said yes. She said, “You have got to drop this victim mentality! You are not a victim of your boss. You are a victim of yourself!” Say what (?!), I thought. Indeed, I had allowed myself to believe that I was a victim of my boss’s irrational rantings!
That moment changed the trajectory of my thoughts. I realized that I was giving control of my mind, my mood, my reactions, and my thoughts, over to my boss. He didn’t possess any of that! Instead, I was giving that to him by claiming a bad mood, anger, frustration, and sometimes fear, by allowing his behavior to permeate my truth. The truth was that he was the one that was angry and paranoid, but that did not mean that he could force me into feeling the same.
I am a conqueror and NOT a victim. This is my mindset. You can also shirk your victim mentality and own your feelings and reactions.
Ask yourself these questions (To Identify Victim Mentality)
Do you dramatize your problems?
Are you always the one that gets the bad deal, or the short end of the stick?
Are you always the one that has bad things happen in your life?
Do you fail to see the good that happens in your life?
Do you engage in a lot of negative self-talk?
Do you see your life as one big catastrophe because of someone else’s words, thoughts, or behavior?
Do you engage in a lot of negative self-talk?
Do you feel mentally powerless to your circumstances?
Do you have a victim mentality?
You are not powerless
If you were to step up to the plate today and drop all of your feelings that are associated with another person’s behavior, what is the worst thing that could happen to you right now? What is the likelihood of that one thing happening?
In most situations, you can do one or several small things to make life better right now. It may take one hundred steps to make everything completely better, but you can always find one minuscule thing that you can change. Focus on the things that you can change, and that typically means a change in yourself.
We cannot change other people. That is a fact. Our role in life is not to change other people, but we take our power back when we implement change in ourselves. You have control over your emotions, your thoughts, and your beliefs. Nobody can regulate that but you.
You are blessed with the ability to choose who you want to be and how you process the actions of others.
How To Stop feeling Like a Victim
To stop feeling like a victim, develop a mindset that you are not limited to how you feel when a person chooses to act in a manner that might upset you. You do not have to be that victim. You do not have to exist in that negative mentality.
See yourself as a strong person that lives in your own reality. You choose to live with joy and thankfulness regardless of what others choose to live by.
By taking responsibility for your thoughts and reactions, you conquer the victim mentality. The moment we stop blaming other people and things in the world for our feelings and emotions, we adopt a winning role. Suddenly, the world looks much better.
It requires work to control our mindset but changing our thought pattern results in much more than a mental alternation. When we think positive thoughts, the stress hormone cortisol decreases. In turn, the brain creates serotonin, a hormone that stabilizes our mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness, in response to our positive emotions.
You aren’t what you think (you are what you believe and how you live your life), but what you think continuously can eventually change who you are. You can choose to be a victim in this world, or you can choose victory. Once you make the winning choice, you will find positive things drifting back into your life. They were always there, but you have now shifted your mindset and removed the blinders.
Final Notes: Abuse is a real thing. Abuse is never okay. If you are in an abusive situation, seek help. Take care of youself! Nobody deserves abuse.
Action Step - Prayer Time for Women: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8 NIV) Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2 NIV) do not sway this way or that...and always wear your full set of armor...check the spirits...only things that are of God Heavenly Father, You teach us to not sway this way or that so that we remain upright and focused on your word. You teach us to always wear the full armor of God so that we are protected from the enemy, for he knows how we are weak. You teach us to check the spirits so that we do not absorb the messages and words of this world...instead we compare them to your word, and we ensure that we only give our attention to things that are noble, right, pure, and praiseworthy. Thank you, Father, for your love and instruction. Please increase the Holy Spirit in me so that I may continue to guard my heart and focus on the things in life that you desire, and not on things (of this world) that are unworthy of praise. Today, I do not claim to be the victim of the evil one or his followers. I claim victory over any of their schemes! I cannot do this alone...not without you. In Jesus' Name, Amen
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Have patience. When it feels like it is taking forever for your goals and passions to take on a semblance of motion, it may feel like it is ‘all wrong’. Do not quit. It may not be the ‘right time’, and when the time is right, you will know it. You will then receive all of the tools that you need to move forward. #godsplans #holyspiritled #patience
A friend spoke sage words today, “Age is only a number. We’re never too old to learn.”
These words practically mirrored the thoughts that I had yesterday, we can always find energy when we allow ourselves to absorb something new in our lives. By something new, I was thinking about learning some additional processes to grow my small business and to create new sources of residual income.
As humans, we drive hopes of learning into the mud when we entertain negative thoughts, such as I’ve done this before, why should it work now?, or, I am tired, I don’t want to start new again, or, will this ever stop, this finding something to work on, to improve? Why give up on the inquisitive and fulfilling journey of living a full life as long as we are breathing and able? Who is counting our (many) attempts to grow? Nobody. Besides that, we are all too busy to pin a number on the attempts others have made. More importantly, it does n.o.t. matter.
My life motto (share, encourage, and grow) does not reflect these negative thoughts. I believe we are always growing, whether we realize it or not. We are always morphing, pivoting, and improving. If we aren’t, we’re dead. Do I ever fall off of the positive and encouraging thought-filled bandwagon? Yes. I derail. What helps me get back on track and glide my engine back to working order? Two things—God and friends.
By sharing, by being open and raw with our stories and endeavors, we encourage others, and this is one of those beautiful ripple effect things—encouragement grows encouragement.
This makes me think of Dr. Tony Evans’ words, who recently said in one of his sermons of hope (as he reflected on the passing of his wife, Dr. Lois Evans), “We don’t know our age.” His words are an encouragement to live in the now, to not stop working towards our end goal, to never stop encouraging, to never stop learning. To remain passionate as if there is no end to face. We don’t know our age, continue growing!
Today, I encourage you to look at life through the eyes of a child. A child that is curious. A child that does not reflect on how many years I have already lived, or, how many times I believe I have failed. I encourage you to ignore those lies.
“Oh, the joy of young ideas painted on the mind, in the warm, glowing colors fancy spreads on objects not yet known, when all is new and all is lovely!” – Hannah More
I started the new year with no “words” for the year, meaning, no specific words to guide me in any particular direction.
As I look up at my white and bulletin board, I see a collage of many words, sayings, and scripture that I cannot say are “from the past,” as these endeavors are virtuous attempts that I do not assign completed-by dates to. After all, we are always a work-in-progress.
A week or so ago, the words “In the Present” lifted me up and nudged at my heart.
So, what does in the present mean to me? These three words tell me to live fully in the present moment, and this is a list of what I pledge to ensure it happens (in no order of importance):
- I will pick up books and frequently read. I will read the books that I already own and I will purchase new books as the year progresses.
- I will not overthink tomorrow. There is a difference between planning and worry.
- I will breathe (relax) and just be where I am planted right now. Have you ever focused on your breathing and noticed that your heart rate goes down? I do this frequently on my FitBit.
- I will work in God’s grace, meaning, I will not work at my own pace and with God’s strength—not mine.
- I will enjoy every color, scent, or design in my environment as if I am looking at life through the eyes of a child.
- I will laugh often. We forget to laugh, and laughter is an incredible and healing blessing. “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22 ESV)
- I will not look back at the past (except to be joyous in what I have learned).
- I will continue to rid my home of unneeded items (purge, live simply, declutter).
- I will forgive (immediately) and hold no past grudges.
- I will place no idols above God.
I am sure I have missed some promises-to-self in this short list, but that is okay because I am very much aware of my assignment, to live fully IN the present.
The last pledge, “I will place no idols above God,” deserves some explanation. When I think about idols my mind quickly forms images of statues and other material things that are a part of particular religions or spiritual practices. Idols can indeed be material things, but I describe idols as anything that we worship. This includes whatever frequently takes me away from my walk or time with God. For example, I caught myself watching a plethora of YouTube videos on a particular Christian-based topic, but this went beyond worship or celebration (of God). I became nearly obsessive with learning about a group that is considered false teachers. I spent enough time researching the group that it became obvious to me that it was dragging me away from my bible study and prayer time. It definitely did not come from God. My interest became an idol. I repented and moved on.
I think about the Scripture, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatevever hard things come up when the time comes.” (Matthew 6:34 MSG)
There is a reason we’ve been told to not worry. I believe part is the reason is to protect our own mental and physical well-being. What good are we if we wear ourselves out into a state of illness? As I say after I don’t get a full restful night of sleep, “I don’t function well.” We must function well. Our lives, and how we serve others, depends on it.
Have you made any pledges for the new year? Did you start the year with “word(s) for the year”?
As a woman, do you find it difficult to find and feel lasting joy?
Do you find yourself digging deep into yourself, looking at what might feel like every aspect of your life and saying to self, “I am not happy with what I do, what my outcome has been this (year, month, week), nor where I am headed?”
Perhaps you have dis-allowed yourself to feel a sense of joy…
- Just because you aren’t defined by what you do for a living.
- Just because you aren’t defined by how much income you bring in.
- Just because you aren’t defined by how outdated your furniture is.
- Just because you aren’t defined by and don’t want to wear all that makeup, or change your hair to the latest style, or the clothes that you wear regardless of the newest fashions.
What if you allowed yourself to feel joy in the simplest of form? What if you allowed yourself to feel joy because today, at this very moment, you are exactly who God designed you to be. You allow yourself to find joy in the things that personally make your heart go pitter-patter. You free yourself to be like a child in the nature that you take the helm and believe in yourself simply because you can, and allow yourself to be her.
You allow yourself to feel joy just because you release yourself to feel joy. Break the chains that bind you to what you believe the world expects you to be. Bound yourself to be who you and God want you to be.
Break the chains that bind you into believing that you have to change because others don’t understand your path. This isn’t their life, it is your’s.
Fearlessly allow joy. Bravely shut off the lies that bound you to what is false.
What is your reality today? Share with me. Let’s set ourselves free together.
P.S. The Proverbs 31 woman, the one that sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. She, indeed may appear perfect in those beautiful Scriptures, but because this is what she does: (Proverbs 31:26) She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue, she doesn’t allow herself to bend here and there as the wind blows. She works hard at this. She IS mindful of what and how she thinks. (Proverbs 31:25) She is clothed with strength and dignity; and she can laugh at the days to come. She isn’t clothed in the latest styles, she is clothed in her style—the style that speaks, “I am bold. I am courageous. I am unique. I am proud of who God designed me to be. I walk in His strength, and I do not hang onto lies that tell me otherwise.”
Amen, sisters…let’s do this!
Fear, as intangible as it is…we cannot lasso it with a rope and pull it in, yet it can affect our moment, day, or weeks if we allow it.
So, why allow fear to take control?
Fear is an emotion caused by the belief that something is dangerous.
Fear stifles us into either not moving forward or retracting from where we are in the present.
The next time fear holds you in its grasp, face down the falsity of this evil emotion, and embrace the reality that unless you are suddenly faced with something dangerous that you cannot change—you can always get away from the lie. Kick this four-letter “F” word—fear—out of your ballpark…and don’t sell tickets to its return!
We all have moments when we feel overworked or tired. Sometimes it is obvious that we need a break, but we are often so deep into overwhelm that we cannot pinpoint the why or what, or how to fix it.
The differences between how we feel and function when we are overworked or tired are very subtle, in fact, they can cross over.
- Decreased creativity and productivity in our work
- Increased anxiety and depression
- Decreased stamina, power, and speed
- Decreased joy in life
- Signs of early aging when overwork extends out over long periods of time
- Emotions are unstable – shifting from irritable, short-tempered, to sad
- Loss or gain of weight (too tired to eat vs. eating in hopes of an energy gain)
- Unable to focus on exercise
- Feeling of stress
- Weak or short attention span
- Signs of early aging when overwork extends out over long periods of time
- Fuzzy minded
The feeling of being fuzzy-minded is the key difference between feeling overworked and feeling fatigued. When we feel overworked we may lose touch with joy, but we do not necessarily feel a lack of clarity. We still function as far as thinking is concerned when we are overworked, but we feel frustration and this drags us down in production.
In comparison, you can safely drive a car when you are overworked. In fact, you may feel you drive better under these circumstances. When you are tired your attention span is short. You do not think clearly, which narrows your driving ability down to unsafe levels.
Have you ever felt overworked, yet, everything felt blurred, to the point you could not figure out how to resolve it? You may have been overworked, but if the hammer had dropped the verdict would have been YOU WERE TIRED.
The steps to correcting overwork are:
- Say no
- Set limits (schedule work hours and stick to it)
The steps to fixing tired are:
- Get adequate sleep
- Shut down early before going to sleep (turn off the phone and anything related to online)
- Exercise appropriately
- Eat well and drink water
Burnout is also close in line behind the symptoms of overworked and tired.
You may feel:
- Most days are bad days
- Exhausted nearly all of the time
- Spend the day doing tasks that feel overwhelming or not interesting
- Nothing you do seems to make a difference or feels appreciated
Burnout affects your body, home, work, and social life. It is like a shipwreck in progress. You hit a rock and the boat begins to fall apart.
Here’s what you can do to kick burnout to the curb:
- Manage stress – get it under control
- Increase social contact (but do not expect people to fix you)
- Exercise (focus on the health of your body…make it tick well)
- Find value in what you do (or just be, you don’t have to DO!)
- Balance life (life, work, friends, family, whatever you value in your personal world)
- Take time off (for YOU)
- Eat healthy and drink water
- Set boundaries
- Take a break from technology
What do these 9 steps do for you? #1, nourishment of creativity through increased health and relaxation. It is like closing a gate to something that sucks the life out of you.
This is your mission…watch your body and mind for signs of fatigue, burnout, or overwork. Know the difference between the three, and nurture yourself through awareness and prevention.
I have mulled over one word these past few weeks: Decision.
This thought process came to a head on New Year’s Day, 2016. How fitting is decision for a new year, a new start…and I ask, how about making it a permanent thought process for the rest of your/my life?
As I have, you might want to print this post, or take notes. I tape reminder notes in places where I see them often. This is because a quick change of heart or mind can take place immediately, but lasting change, especially when it involves a mindset, normally involves an overhaul of life-time thinking patterns. We need reminders!
Decision. It is only an idea, a thought, until we take action.
“I made a decision today. I settled, concluded, chose, voted, made up my mind to ____________ (fill in the blank).” I may have decided to write a new book a year ago, but until I start writing the book, it is only a goal or aspiration.
What can we do to make our decisions stick? Take the first step, move it to the next level, and follow-up with subsequent steps until the decision becomes an action…until we can announce, “I did it!”
Procrastination is the killer of turning decisions into reality. (I raise my hand in admission to this fault.) Why do we procrastinate? The number one reason is FEAR. Bold faced fear.
So, what do we do now? We have this idea, this “decision,” and now we find our fear-filled selves saying, “Oh, perhaps I should not make that decision. I should not rock the boat. I should not create more
work stress for myself. I think the best thing to do is nothing…” Yes, taking the easy way out. Is it truly the easy way out? No. What happens a week from now, or a year, or even a life-time later when we realize that we have never done what we felt called to do? We miss out. That is sad. We miss out on making a difference in our lives, or the lives of others. We fail to make our personal contribution to the world.
Face your fears. Stare them down. Study them. Know them inside out. Break them down into small manageable chunks (or crumbs). Change what you can and make the choice to ignore or forge through what you cannot change. Remember, we cannot change others, and we cannot change the world. We can only change how we react to it. You can only change you!
By breaking fear down, we discover the truth–real things that we should fear, which ultimately amounts to very little. We also become aware of our inner-generated story and falsehoods. The lies that we believe, and we are often monumental story tellers.
Meditate on people, those that you consider a mentor, or those that you admire. Think about the accomplishments of these people. Where would they be today if they used fear as an excuse in their lives? What if they never moved forward with an idea (made it a decision) because of self-doubt, “I am not (educated, beautiful, trained, smart enough, young enough, old enough).”
I made the decision to not accept the “what if’s” that surface in my life. The action that I took when I made that decision was to not mentally use any excuse, to only use good judgment. What if I make a mistake? What if I make the wrong choice? Growth is a bundle of both bad and good choices. Can we mature without a solid learning process?
Steps for the three F’s: Break down fear. Release your faith. Allow your faith to spread until there is no room for fear to survive. Experience freedom.
Keep moving forward, my friends. Move those feet, take those steps…advance. Turn those decisions into actions!
I am in the process of building a website for my coaching business.
When the new site name jumped out at me (it is exactly the message that I want to convey), I scooped up the domain and began the process of pointing it to the website. I’ve been through this process numerous times so I felt it would be a smooth deal. I knew I would have a published website in no time flat.
After waiting 24 hours, I discovered that I had input one DNS number incorrectly. There would be no additional stumbling blocks ahead, right?
After I returned home from work the following day, I eagerly logged onto my lap-top to check out my new website. No. Nope. Na-da. The site still had not published.
Nearly a full week later, 6 days to be exact, with my head feeling like it was in a whirlpool and swirling downwards fast, I decided to push my stubbornness aside and I requested help from live chat. I carefully laid out the history of my troubles, and I asked, “What am I missing?” The chat person asked me for my domain name. After a pause, they replied, “Nobody owns that domain.” In disbelief I typed, “No way!” I quickly erased the words as reality sunk in.
Was it possible? What had I done? WiseWomenOfNobleCharacter was WiseWomanOfNobleCharacter. In my hurry, coupled with a lack of sleep, and in the pursuit of getting something important finished (all too) quickly, I had missed my new business website name by one character.
What happened that day is a common occurence…caused by speeding through a task, allowing frustration to take the lead, coupled with looking for a big problem, when indeed it was, and often is, something small.
My friend, Kayla, of Red Cedar Bison, and Selah Press, was operating the booth at her local farm market that morning. She posted on her Facebook page, “You know your market samples are good when we are nearly out of samples by 10 am. One lady said the sample was like a party in her mouth.” Kayla is one of the most optimistic women that I know. As simple as her statement was that morning, it spoke to me clearly. I was not working in a cheerful way, and I was rushing through what could have been a joyous time. How was I with giving out samples (of smart coaching), if I was only raising my blood pressure and running on the fuel of a flustered spirit?
Moral to this story: Take your time. Ask for help. Get enough sleep. Don’t expect big things to go wrong, and inspect the small things. Enjoy the process! Do not detract from the creativity that you possess!
Moliere said it well, “The trees that are slow to grow bear the most fruit.”
(By the way…I purchased both domain names. If I made that mistake, so will someone else. Covered.)