On our journeys to create our all, live our all, and love our all, we may find that some people will hold us back, criticize us, or otherwise get us down. One of those people lives inside us, and it’s time to say goodbye.
Everyone has an inner victim in one form or another, and depending on how long she’s been with you and how loudly she speaks will determine the amount of time and energy it will take to get her to move out. You may have the victim pop in as an unexpected guest, or even realize that you’ve been the one to invite her in. The good news is that you and not your inner victim are in control of your thoughts. You can hush her voice and eventually encourage her to vacate the premises.
Identify when your inner victim is speaking
So what does she sound like?
- “That _person, thing, comment, situation_ totally ruined my day.” She is pulling a fast one on you here so that she can wallow in a pity party. It was her reaction to the person/thing/comment/situation that ruined the day, not whatever it is that she’s blaming.
- “If only I had more _money, smarts, time, strength _ so I could do what I really want.” Or “I’m not _smart, strong, talented, rich_ enough to do that.” The victim is easy prey for fears, and she will manipulate you to keep from doing things that frighten her. Help her out by going on a fear hunt. Track your fears, look them in the eyes and let them know you’re not afraid of them.
- “I could never do that.” You can’t if you think you can’t, and she really wants you to think you can’t so she can hang out with you. Guess what happens if you think you can?
- “It’s not fair that _friend/colleague/mentor_ has this _amazing benefit_ and I’m stuck with _deplorable deficiency_.” She wants you to focus on your weaknesses. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Everyone. And that means that picture perfect co-worker has flaws just as you have amazing strengths.
- “I can’t believe this is happening to me!” If you hear this, you likely have a victim-drama queen combo. You need an intervention, stat!
Shrivel your victim’s power
After you have identified when she’s speaking, you can start the work to lessen her presence.
Have you ever noticed that when you interrupt some people to make your own point, they tend to get louder? When you actively listen and neutrally share back what you heard, those people feel acknowledged and no longer feel the need to repeat their point. The same principle applies here with your victim. Instead of ignoring her, letting her ramble on, or interrupting her with positive self talk, acknowledge what she says. It could go something like this:
Victim: “I’ll never be able to launch my business idea because I have no money, I don’t know anything about coding a website, and I don’t have any time to start it because of my soul sucking job. It’s not fair.”
You, in active and neutral listening mode: “So you’re worried that starting a business will require more money, time, and skills than I currently have?” See how you siphoned all of the drama out of that sentence? You also identified that her statement is actually a fear and not reality.
Victim: “Um. Yes.”
Here is what happens: her power over you dwindles, you begin to see that her thoughts are not your own, and that her statements are usually prompted by fears or worries. Don’t be surprised if she leaves now. If she persists with more victimizing statements, continue to actively and neutrally listen. She’ll go away eventually.
Reclaim your power
Once you have neutralized your victim’s statements by acknowledging them, you can now inject positive self talk and brainstorm things you CAN do. It might go something like this:
“Building a business will definitely take money but there are always ways to borrow or raise money. While I’m researching that, maybe I could make a few small sacrifices that will be totally worth it when my business changes the world. What is one thing I had planned to buy this week that I could instead put aside for my business? Well, I can brew my coffee at home instead of stopping at the coffee shop. In fact, I can do that from now on and save—holy!—more than $800 a year! Okay, wow. That’s totally exciting. Now I don’t have much time so that will be a factor, but since this business will help me have a fulfilling, rich, and meaningful life, I will find a way to make it happen. What are some things I can do to free up time this week to spend it on my business? Wow! I could save more than a week a year?! Now I’m really excited! And do I really need to know how to build a website from scratch? There must be free sites out there made for people who don’t know anything about coding. Action item: investigate free websites. . .”
And with that, you’ll have one less person holding you back so you can stride forward.
What are some things you do that encourage your inner victim to leave? I’d love to hear from you. Let me know by leaving a note in the comments.