A Coaching Power Tool Created by Julie Pressnell
(Life Coach & Financial Advisor Coach, UNITED STATES)
I am very big on respect to others, in and around our professional setting. I’ve gotten better with self-respect which has helped me to understand respect and invalidation go hand in hand. Invalidation can be hurtful to everyone and detracts from the human experience. Without respect and with invalidation someone’s answers, thoughts, experiences and existence are cast aside and not considered.
In my experience the number one thing that gets in clients way is THEMSELVES. They overthink, over-engineer, over everything except taking action. The one mindset shift that I would every client could make is that they are capable…of anything and everything. If you want it, you can do it. This is how I see respect vs invalidation. Without self-respect, we will continue to feel invalidation and fall into a victim mentality. Through working with clients to help them with this mindset shift I feel the most powerful perspective to apply to any challenging experience is “What can I do to move onward and upward?”
Recently I’ve had the experience at work of being passed over a second time for a role in the Practice Management Team. In addition, the role was filled by my colleague who was someone I would have considered a friend prior to this event. I struggled with having to continue to work with the same people, to not show how upset and hurt I was. Some beliefs that came up for me were that I was not good enough, again; that I am not valued or appreciated at work. It was very difficult to find the motivation to move forward and beyond the hurt and disappointment.
In the end, I had to make a change to my perspective and past it or I would never have a chance to get the role. Another role of the same position came available and I was torn about applying and how to approach the whole situation. In order to change the perception of those around me and certainly those who were hiring for this position, I had to get over being mad about being hurt. I know that she and I can and have worked well together. If this job is truly what I want to be doing then I needed to change my attitude and perspective. Make eye contact, engage in professional conversations with her again and stop projecting my hurt and anger.
Through coaching and the ability to evaluate my behaviours and beliefs around this, I have been able to reflect on how my point of view about the situation has led me to feel stuck. Through the lens of fear, scarcity, insecurity, being wounded and being a victim it has been difficult for me to move forward.
However, as I examine this situation and my responses to it I can see the more empowering perspective is to appreciate the experience and allow myself to be healed and enlightened from the entire situation.
The way that I see these opposing beliefs as seen below:
Victim Mentality vs. Enlightenment
Victim mentality is an acquired personality trait in which a person tends to recognize themselves as a victim of the negative actions of others and to behave as if this were the case in the face of contrary evidence such as circumstances. Victim mentality depends on clear thought processes and attribution. (Wikipedia)
Simply put, having a victim mentality means that you blame other people and circumstances for the unhappiness that you feel. How Self-victimization Develops. The victim mentality is an acquired personality trait, meaning that it is the result of early life conditioning and coping mechanisms. Most victims were victimized in some way as children, whether that was through physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse or psychological abuse. It can also develop through the co-dependent relationships we had with our parents, or simply observing and adopting the unhealthy victim mentality exhibited by one or more of our family members. However, although what happens to us as children is completely beyond our control, it is our responsibility as adults to step into our power and reclaim responsibility for our happiness. (lonerwolf.com)
Enlightenment is defined as a noun meaning, the action or state of attaining or having attained spiritual knowledge or insight, in particular (in Buddhism) that awareness which frees a person from the cycle of rebirth. Also, The Age of Enlightenment was a European intellectual movement of the late 17th and 18th centuries emphasizing reason and individualism rather than tradition. (Dictionary.com)
Enlightenment philosophers believed that rational thought could lead to human improvement and were the most legitimate mode of thinking. They saw the ability to reason as the most significant and valuable human capacity.
- Constantly blaming others or situations for feeling miserable
- Thinking others are purposely trying to hurt you
- Feeling powerless and unable to cope effectively with a problem or life, in general,
- Feeling attacked when you’re given constructive criticism
- Feeling powerless to change your circumstances
- Refusing to analyse yourself or improve your life
- Constantly putting yourself down
To make the connection between victim mentality and enlightenment, when one is experiencing victim mentality they are giving their power away to others and not taking responsibility or applying reason to the situation. As we become more enlighten and are able to see that we have put the responsibility on others to rectify a situation. Also, as we start to shift our mindset and take back our power we see that we are responsible for our happiness, situation, etc.
An example would be when I was passed over for a second time for a job that I really wanted by a peer and someone I would consider a friend. I went into to victim mentality blaming everyone around me, the situation, and feeling hurt and betrayed from someone I considered a friend. While this stunk, as time and perspective would have it I have realized that it was easier to play the victim than to look at what I did (or did not do) to prepare and how I felt (which was, after all of my time in my current role and how the folks interviewing knew of what I did that I would get the job). It seems that we can wallow in victimhood for a very long time. We have to make the choice to move towards enlightenment and decide to reclaim our power and our responsibility for the situation. Then you are able to look back and honestly look back at the things you could have controlled for a different outcome.
Can you think of a situation where you fell into come victim mentality? Write out this situation from the perspective of what you felt while you were in the victim mindset. Acknowledge your feelings from the situation.
Next, take the time to write how and when you realized that it was time to reclaim your power and take responsibility for the situation. What did this look like? What were the feelings and emotions you experienced once you realized you could take control of the situation (at least your part)?
Start to feel the difference in your body as you walk through this experience in this exercise. How does your body respond to the different feelings and emotions of victimhood and enlightenment around the situation?
As we become more aware of falling into victim mentality we are more quickly able to regain our responsibility for our actions, emotions and behaviours.
It can be difficult to see oneself in a victim mentality. Helping a client to become self-aware and do the heavy lifting of self-analyzation can help them to see how their mindset is coming from the victim mentality. Allowing the clients the space and time through our conversations to discover where they may be holding on to anger, frustration, and sadness is important for their self-discovery.
If you suspect your client is holding on to the victim mentality ask your client to walk through the exercise above. They can do this exercise through journaling or during a session.
Pay attention to the words the client uses to describe their emotions as they explain the situation. This can help you meet them where they are and help them walk through the journey of self-realization.
As the client talks through how they have become enlightened regarding the situation in the exercise help them discover how they have applied this principle to other situations where they would have previously played the victim.
Here are some tips to help move from victim mentality to enlightenment:
- Replace “you” with “I”: This simple trick can help you learn to take more responsibility for your happiness.
- See yourself as a survivor: Once you start seeing yourself as a survivor, you’ll begin to feel better about life and you’ll attract other people for the right reasons.
- Be kind and compassionate towards yourself: Be careful about becoming a victim of a victim. Experiment with practices such as journaling, affirmation, NLP, CBT, and other forms of self-love.
- Explore your mistaken beliefs: Do some work around discovering mistaken beliefs you have picked up along the way. You’ll be surprised to find out how many beliefs no longer serve you...get rid of them!!
- Ask “what thought is creating this suffering?”: This goes back to exploring mistaken beliefs. All suffering originates in beliefs that go unquestioned and unexamined in our minds.
- Practice gratitude: Each day tries to find ten things you are thankful for. Writing them down only serves to imprint them more into your thoughts.
- Affirm self-responsibility: Start to notice all the ways you bypass self-responsibility. Be truly honest about seeking sympathy or other ways you seek to give away your power and/or responsibility. Create ways to build your self-confidence and acknowledge when you are capable and do not give away your power.
- Perform an act of kindness for another: Get out and do something for someone else (someone you love or a complete stranger). When we stay in our head, we replay the loop over and over again. Getting out and doing releases so many healthy happy endorphins and allows you to see things from a different perspective. (lonerwolf.com)
Help the client celebrate the steps they took to regain their power and responsibility for the situation and for their overall happiness.