In the Whole Human Awakening E-book, I talk about the importance of having an empowerment mindset rather than a victim mindset. The victim mindset is seductive. It’s prevalent. Most people can succumb to victim mindset at least some of the time, whether it’s a voice in your own head, or you’re commiserating with a struggling friend, or empathizing with your Aunt Bertie when she complains about the pandemic.
An empowerment mindset – an attitude of recognizing your power, choices, and options – can lift you out of the victim mindset. It can liberate you completely from the victim-tyrant paradigm. (If there’s a victim, there has to be a tyrant or perpetrator, right? We can be both victim and tyrant – sometimes to ourselves! It’s a gnarly cycle that can perpetuate itself ad nauseum.)
There are a number of key ingredients to staying in an empowerment mindset. One of them is being able to maintain perspective and see the options. Why is this important?
Life sucks sometimes. Or, at the very least, life can be challenging sometimes. It’s unfortunate wiring in the human brain that makes us shut down in fear during times of suck. When it shuts down, we stop seeing options. We don’t think creatively, we don’t see opportunities, and we start to believe negative thoughts, like:
- I’m stuck here again. I always end up here.
- I don’t deserve/am not worthy of [fill in the blank].
- This is just how my life is; it won’t change.
- I have bad karma.
- Awakening, abundance, happy work/marriage/friendships, etc. just aren’t for me.
- Nothing good ever happens to me.
- I’m never going to find/get/have [whatever it is you want… relationship, friendship, money, good job, etc.].
- I’m damned/doomed/cursed.
- A better life isn’t possible for me.
You get the idea. I’m sure you’ve had at least some thought like this before, almost everyone has. And believe me, I’ve heard it all – and more – in sessions!
It’s also unfortunate that the victim mindset, when it becomes defeated and resigned, can sometimes masquerade as acceptance. Here’s a good way to tell the difference between victim resignation and acceptance:
- When you are resigned or defeated from a victim place, you feel yourself getting smaller, shutting down.
- When you have true acceptance of your current situation, there’s a sense of peace and opening up to how things can be different.
One of the most memorable experiences of victim suffering was a client of mine years ago. She was just about to make a huge breakthrough about love, relationships, and the constancy of Divine Love when a thought came into her head – “I never get what I need and I never will” – and she believed it. She shut down. She started crying and yelling, blaming the world for her loneliness and lack of love. She was so caught in the story that she forgot to see the options, listen to her inner wisdom, or listen to anyone else besides the victim voice in her head.
On one hand, I had immense compassion for her suffering. On the other hand, I was fully aware that she was creating needless suffering for herself. She had processed the challenges in her childhood already; it’s not like she had big healing from her past left to do – she had already done that hard work! It was like she was standing at the doorway of a breakthrough and, rather than walk through it and find freedom, she sat down on the ground and melted down. The solution to her suffering was right in front of her but she refused to take it!
In contrast, most of my clients in this situation would take the empowerment road. They would say something like, “I’m noticing a part of myself that feels it will never get what it needs.” And then they would work with this part in some way; perhaps do a healing process, grieve for a while, or ask inner wisdom what’s really true – or maybe all three. The difference here is that they aren’t getting sucked into the past, the wound, or victim identification. Instead, they are rooting firmly in present-day wisdom, love, options, and abundance while working with hurts from the past. And that is empowerment.
Whatever happens – whether it’s an internal challenge (like an old wound) or an external challenge (like a conflict in relationship) – you can stay grounded in present-day options, opportunities, wisdom, and truth. That’s the gift of the empowerment mindset.
Embracing the empowerment mindset is a shift you can make in any moment. In fact, you can catch yourself heading down the victim road, hit the brakes, and choose the empowerment road. Fundamentally, it’s simple (and I’ll talk in a moment about the part that can be hard):
What to do when life sucks; a.k.a How to Be Empowered and Recognize Opportunity
- Take a step back.
- Set an intention to see options and possibilities.
- Get curious.
- Open your awareness; listen for new insights and possibilities.
- Say yes to the opportunities.
- Follow through and take new action.
You will often see options that were in your blind spot, or something you’d never considered, or some creative version of an old option.
This is so unbelievably powerful – and really kind of stupid simple – that it’s something I recommend you employ as your new go-to habit when you feel like you are at the end of your rope, hitting a wall, or in a conflict you can’t see your way out of (yet). I’ve seen this work in all kinds of situations, including:
- Conflicts with friends, families, co-workers, employees, bosses
- Financial hardship
- Physical illness and challenges
- Career challenges
- Emotional challenges
- And more
Now that I’ve talked about the simple and awesome parts of this, let’s talk about what can get hard: your emotions. Sometimes, the emotions about a situation are so strong and overpowering that you have to attend to them before you can really step back and open up to possibilities. That is absolutely ok and very understandable. Sometimes you need to have a good cry or pillow-punching session. Sometimes you need to untangle and heal an old story or wound. But – if you want to be empowered and move forward – please, please, do not get lost in your emotion. Do not believe the stories your emotional brain wants you to believe. Let the emotion move through. Do a process to heal your emotions if you need to (more support: Read The Six Steps to Meet Emotions With Truth and Love). But you don’t have to sit down in the doorway of a breakthrough and think the road ends there. Keep going.
You aren’t meant to be stuck forever. You are meant to evolve. You are meant to realize your potential. Open up to the full capacity of your wise and creative brain.
May you feel empowered in all areas of life!
Blessings for your awakening, embodiment and evolution!