“Self pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics. It is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality”
John W Gardner
I read this quote a while back and at that point felt like a bucket of ice water had been dropped on my head.
It was included in an article in which the author spoke of a tendency to getting stuck in a rut career wise because we have been to afraid to take risks, do things differently and stand out.
This is the game we play we when we fall into the “loser” mindset.
We blame others, our circumstances and things about ourselves for our lack of success and in no way take any responsibility.
This is 100% applicable to me but what struck while reading this article is how applicable the loser mindset had been to my approach to my finances as well.
What is the loser mindset?
A loser mindset, is the “sorry for yourself, I am a victim” space where nothing good happens.
We repeat the same mistakes, refuse to change and blame the predictable result on circumstances.
“I can’t do this, this is impossible”, “I have bad luck” and “It’s too late for me”
I have a few more gems which I seem to play regularly, but am not going to repeat here.
Suffice to say I am the master of “loserville”.
Why would anyone want to be a victim?
This is a safe haven.
It means we don’t have to take risks. And even more gratifying, we don’t have to take responsibility.
It was very easy for me to blame my financial mistakes on my upbringing, my invisibility to the universe, the lack of luck or opportunity afforded to me or whatever other creative excuse I could come up with.
My lack of career progress was ascribed to me “not being political”, being slower, stupider or insert an adjective, than anyone else.
Just writing this is exhausting. The amount of time I wasted coming up with the “loser” excuses that could have been spent more productively taking risks, upskilling where I felt inadequate or taking my head out of “where the sun don’t shine” and asking for help.
I clearly didn’t want to take responsibility for where I was in life.
I had given away my power.
If you recognise any of this in yourself, here are some thoughts on how to break free from being a victim.
Replace the “addictive high” of being a victim with the freedom of mastering our fate
Being a victim is undoubtedly not a space any of us consciously want to be in, but it is the safe haven for many of us.
This is that space in which we don’t have to challenge ourselves and potentially expose ourselves to judgement.
In order to move from that very comfortable space the “pain” we feel from not achieving what we really want and not being where we want to be has to be greater.
By continuously focusing on what we are forgoing by playing small and building up the pain of missing out on all we want, we can start to exercise our courage and slowly start pushing against the walls of our comfort zone.
Take responsibility for our lives
This is the most powerful moment in our mindset shifts.
When we throw off the shackles of victim and step into the power of being the driver of our own destiny.
We acknowledge our role in where we are and the actions taken, or not, that brought us here.
Even more powerful is recognising that by taking responsibility we are not diminishing ourselves, rather we are empowering ourselves with the knowledge of what we are capable of.
Forgive yourself firstly. See your actions through compassionate eyes. Understand why you felt that victim was your safest setting.
But don’t get drawn in again.
Feel the power of knowing that is not your new mindset. From here you are moving forward. You have taken the wheel and are driving in the direction you want to go. Challenges will come, but you no longer choose to shy away in your corner and hide.
Secondly forgive those you blamed in your victim role. `whether it was justified or was something you grasped upon in order to not take responsibility, it is time to let it go, move forward and put that resentment to rest.
Change the focus
A victim focus is a selfish place to be. It is inwards looking and results in a lot of time spent on “why me’s”, blame and negativity.
It is no wonder aspirations are not achievable in that infertile mindset.
Start to focus outwards. Look at the value you can add to others without worrying about what people will think and how hard it will be.
The change in perspective is invigorating because outwards is unlimited, inviting and bursting with ripe opportunity.
When immersed in our loser mindset we close ourselves off to recognising all that the universe is constantly gifting us.
In the dark space of our minds, we cannot see all that we have to be grateful for.
When we change from that inward focused mindset to looking outwards we have the opportunity of recognising what is already there.
And the power is not in only recognising but celebrating and acknowledging these wonderful, beautiful gifts of life, because the more we recognise and focus on them , the more these gifts flow to us.