I want to start this message by posing a question: have you ever felt that your life was at a standstill? We may experience monotonous moments in life based on circumstances we endure or people we encounter. However, sometimes we might be the reason why life is in a rut; we may be the reason why we’re not growing.
Sometimes we hinder ourselves from being our best selves. We become stuck in our pride or pain to the point we’re unable to move forward and live a thriving life. Sometimes we prevent ourselves from confronting our issues because of our fears and stubbornness. We remain in a standstill and then wonder why life doesn’t seem so quite fulfilling; we stay in a self-pitying mold instead of breaking out of it to become better than who we originally were.
I also think we hinder ourselves by embodying a victim mentality. A victim mentality is different from enduring horrific experiences such as trauma that would deem one a victim. According to Dr. John Townsend, author of “Beyond Boundaries” and coauthor of “Boundaries,” a victim mentality is when one believes that everything and everyone cause you to experience what you experience in your life; you don’t believe you deserve what you endured, and that everyone around you is either worse than you or should have it worse than you. Crystal Raypole from Healthline takes it further and states that a victim mentality is also able to stem from feeling that any attempt to fix things will not help things improve.
In my personal and professional life, I’ve seen many people take on the mentality of a victim: blaming everyone and everything for why their lives are messes, not being willing to confront themselves, and not doing anything to help their lives, relationships, and characters improve from what they endured. I’ve witnessed these people make some poor choices in order to be perceived as victims who had little control when in fact they had all the control in their decisions. I’ve realized that I myself went through periods in which I allowed myself to be the victim-and didn’t allow myself to improve in a healthier fashion.
I went through a lot of painful, confusing, and heartbreaking situations these past six months. I lost a lot. However, as I reflected on what I faced, I began realizing I could have handled things a lot more maturely and healthily than I thought I did. I unfortunately fell into the pattern of having a victim mentality. I became so stuck in my pain that I was too prideful to step out of it. I allowed my boundaries to be overstepped in whom I confide my problems. I allowed my own emotions of anger, sadness, loneliness, confusion, humiliation, fear, and grief to control my reaction to my experiences and made some poor decisions.
No one told me to make these choices; and if anyone did encourage them, I most certainly had the choice to refuse. I realized that my choices were my choices at the end of the day. Yes, my pain was valid, but I was able to allow my pain to help me or hinder me as I continued to persevere in this life. I allowed my situation to hinder my progress in life instead of helping my progress.
I eventually decided to let go and let God: I let go of my pride to be humble, and to be removed from a path of pain, bitterness, and heartache to a path of healing, strength, and forgiveness. I cut away toxic people and things from my life and kept safe people and things close to me. Accountability and prayer became my greatest levels of support I have received from those around me.
However, I truly wonder if I would have branched out of all the mud and mire a lot sooner if I didn’t hinder myself. Yet, the past is the past; staying contained in self-pity isn’t healthy either. Therefore, I must learn from what my behaviors and experiences and move forward to become a better person-something we all need to do to heal and to help ourselves.
We have the ability to help or hinder ourselves in our experiences. Nancy Carbone from Psych Central wrote that those who have a victim mentality have the belief that they are not in control of their lives, and often resent others for living their lives. However, that belief is one of the biggest lies we’re able to tell ourselves. We are in control of how we react and respond to what we endure. We are in charge of whether or not we will have healthy relational boundaries and a healthy sense of self-esteem as we move forward from hurtful and grieving moments.
We all have the choice to be stagnant or to grow; we all are able to say yes or no to both positive and negative people and things that surround us. We all are able to help or hinder ourselves. The choice is ours.