I realized something very simple but also quite illuminating the other day. Most of us spend a great deal of time worrying about things we cannot control. We spend the rest of the time avoiding the decisions that we actually can choose to make.
It sounds so backwards, but if you think about the fact that most of us have experienced trauma and conditioning, it makes sense. It scares us to take agency over our decisions. We were taught we could not trust ourselves, in one way or another. We were perhaps made into actual victims by family members or other close to us, so now we naturally assume that role in every situation.
If we take responsibility for our choices and let go of those areas where we cannot choose, we gain sovereignty and freedom. On the other hand, we also have to own our mistakes. If we blame people and things outside of ourselves for our situation, we can pretend that we are helpless victims of our circumstances. There are limited instances in which this may actually be the case. Most of the time, we just don’t want to admit that we can shift if we so desire.
I get it if this feels triggering. It was triggering to me for a long time. I truly did not understand my role in my own victimhood. I was a survivor, not a victim! I didn’t realize that you can be both at once. I was stuck in survival mechanisms, not thriving. Victim mentality was, in fact, one of those mechanisms. Luckily I learned all this through the gentle guidance of a great therapist, informative books, and mental health educators. It took me a while to understand what was going on with me. If you are struggling with this, I recommend the book The Body Keeps The Score as a place to begin. It gave me a greater understanding of how my trauma had created nervous system patterns that were, in fact, not my fault. It also gave me understanding of how I could learn to rewire them.
Also, it’s helpful to reframe victimhood in your own mind. Being stuck here does not make you a bad person! It’s simply a trauma response, and so many of us experience it. You are not alone. We have attached such shame and stigma to the idea of victim mentality, when really it deserves compassion, understanding and support. It’s time to reject these outdated ideas that we are broken or somehow lacking, and instead embrace ourselves with the love we all deserve.
You can learn to take control of your sovereignty. You can choose how you want to live by taking all of your power back. You no longer need to give it away. We know better now, okay? We’re not doing that anymore. Sending you all my love.