InsideOut Empowerment Principle #10: You are not a victim of anything—not your emotions, your past, other people, circumstances, or your character. Once you learn and practice these principles of InsideOut Empowerment®, you will have the power to take a different path at any moment you choose. You have it now but you will learn to harness its use. In our society especially, there is a lot of benefit in being the victim. We have created a culture where people are no longer responsible for their own actions. Do bad things happen to good people? Of course they do but people are responsible for how they respond to those things.
We already discussed how emotions do not just overcome us. We actually “create” them to help us get things we want. Sometimes they work; other times they don’t but recognizing the proactivity of emotions instead of the reactivity will help you shift out of being a victim of your emotions. They are only one part of behavior. If you don’t like what you are feeling, then change it by adjusting what you are doing or what you are thinking. Changing the two things you control—your actions and thoughts—is what will transform you from victim to victor where your emotions are concerned.
Many people feel victimized by their past. Terrible things happened to them. Perhaps they were horribly abused. They had no choice about the abuse; that’s clear. And as a child, they didn’t have a lot of choice about how to respond to it. They were a true victim at the time. However, many with painful pasts allow their perpetrator to victimize them over and over and over again. How do they do that—by giving their perpetrator the power to control their life. There are things they won’t do because they are too scared. There are things they do to stay safe that also protects them from the possibilities of a better life. The past is the past. It’s over. You can’t change it. You can’t rewrite it or start over with a different script. Staying stuck there puts your abuser in the driver’s seat of your life. Take control. Understand that whatever happened in the past you may not have controlled but starting right now, today, you control every single thing you do and most of what you think. Create a plan of what you will do to reclaim your life and to become the person you want to be. Let the past rest in the past.
Sometimes we allow ourselves to be victims to other people. It’s definitely possible to be victimized by someone once. But if it’s continuing to happen to you over and over again, then I would say you aren’t trusting the person. Trust you say? How can I trust people when they are hurting me? That’s easy—you trust them to be the person they are showing you they are. People will show you who they are. But, because it doesn’t fit the person you want them to be, you refuse to see them. What you see is who you want to see and so you can be victimized over and over again because you aren’t trusting the person. Learn to trust people for who they are. Don’t put them in positions where they can victimize you again.
If I loan you $20 and you don’t pay me back and then years later you ask me to loan you more money, I may or may not give it to you based on who I am. No matter what my decision, I will be trusting you to be someone who doesn’t repay their debts. I may choose not to give you more money for that reason and if I do decide to give you money, I will be categorizing it as a gift, not a loan. If I see it as a loan, then I am creating an opportunity for you to “victimize” me again and I’m not about to do that. You can stop that too. It’s always your choice.
Some people believe they are at the mercy of their circumstances. “I can’t do that; I don’t have a degree.” “I have to wait until the kids leave home.” “I’m waiting for my retirement.” “I’m really stuck here because of the economy.” Does any of this sound familiar? These are all excuses and various forms of self-sabotage to keep you from your greatness. You are not a victim of circumstances. You can do whatever you want to do as long as you have your mindset lined up and are disciplined enough to take persistent action toward your hopes and dreams. I left a very secure job with great benefits after 17 years to start my own business. I moved 800 miles away from where anyone knew me, took six months to learn what coaching and owning a business was all about and the rest is history. Oh, and did I mention I did this in 2004 right after the value of my limited investments was cut in half? And it didn’t get any better after that! But I had a dream, I believed in myself, I courageously faced my own issues with self-sabotage and I persisted. You can too. It isn’t magic. It’s about having a dream and pursuing it with unfailing passion.
And finally, people will often claim to be a victim of their own character. They are heard saying things such as, “I couldn’t do that, I’m too shy.” “I can’t own my own business, I’m way too flighty.” “I am full of anger. No I can’t forgive so-and-so.” Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? Do you know when I was in college, I hated presenting in front of my class? I got so nervous—I got the cold sweats, my palms were sweaty and I had major butterflies in my stomach that felt more like a sledgehammer. If I believed I couldn’t speak in front of people because it made me too uncomfortable, then I definitely wouldn’t have the life I have now. Whatever you think you could never do based on your character, I’m telling you with a strong desire, commitment and persistence you definitely can. You can reinvent yourself at any moment you choose.
One of the keys to being successful is to create a plan that is challenging, yet definitely doable for you. Your ideal pace will be different from someone else. It should be a stretch to accomplish so you don’t get bored, yet doable so you don’t get frustrated. It helps to have a mastermind group to support you. We offer a free Mastermind Group and it’s ideal to have a mentor or coach along the way that has already done what you are attempting to do. You want someone who will support you through the challenging times, kick your butt when you slow down or become discouraged, and who will inspire you to keep moving toward your dreams.