many clients come to me with a number of complaints; their work sucks, their marriage sucks, their mood sucks, maybe their health sucks, or some combination of “all of the above”.
one of the first things i do is help guys see they are the common denominator of their problems.
this is true for you too.
your “this sucks” perception has to do with your perception NOT your actual circumstances. example: people find freedom in prison
i like to talk about this reality in terms of mindset
MINDSET is a fundamental perspective and set of attitudes that shape how you make sense of yourself and the world.
mindset influences EVERY aspect of your life.
if you are dissatisfied with something in your life it’s often because we you are seeing it through a victim lens of perception
a quick note on this: there are real victims in the world (and you may be in this position) and I don’t mean to convey that being a victim is less than in some way.
i use the term “victim” here to highlight one’s relationship to something else. from a victim position, something is happening TO you. a victim has little to no agency due to external forces. they have no way out.
in contrast to a victim mindset is a hero’s mindset.
the hero of any story is somebody that faces challenge and transforms through that challenge. a hero mindset is one that sees any circumstance as an opportunity to persevere and grow.
one way to discern a hero or victim mindset is by looking at how one reacts to pain.
a hero learns from pain by turning toward it.
a victim avoids pain by turning away from it.
of note, a victim mindset is not a character defect – it’s an indicator of our maturity. we are born victims simply because we don’t have enough agency to survive – things are happening to us – and it’s easy to get stuck here because turning away from pain is our default. it’s how we are wired – so much so that we do it unconsciously.
as we mature we develop creative psychological coping patterns like rationalization, minimization, blaming, excuse making – to name a few – as a way to avoid our pain.
DEVELOPING A HERO MINDSET
one strategy i use to undermine victim mindset is to ask, “how do i respond when things don’t go my way?”
give it a go:
reflect on something difficult that recently happened to you, like an insult, rejection, a frustrating situation, or a disappointment.
how did you internally respond to that situation?
as you reflect more and more on difficult situations you will start to see your unique pattern of “coping” and become familiar with the larger pattern, or story, your mind uses when faced with adversity – and whether your character tends to have a victim or hero mindset.
as you do this, stay curious – you don’t have to beat yourself up – it’s totally human to be a victim. and nobody is a hero all the time.
as a reward for your work you will naturally start to cultivate a hero’s mindset.
awareness is powerful like that.
awareness gives us a little space between our character and our experience, and with that space, we develop agency – a key feature of a hero mindset.
wishing you lots of good fortune and challenge.
until next time,