A Coaching Power Tool Created by Lucia Hargasova
(Conscious Leadership Coach, UNITED KINGDOM)
I can choose either to be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It’s all a question of how I view my life. Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes
VICTIM vs CREATOR
For many years, I had been walking around without realizing I had a victim mentality. “Those with a victim mentality believe they have been the victim of wrongdoing by others or have otherwise suffered misfortune through no fault of their own” *
As a strong, independent woman, I made it abundantly clear that I was not a victim or trying to be a victim. Unfortunately, this was not true, I was a victim without even knowing it. I avoided taking responsibility for how I felt because of (or a?)a powerful perpetrator in my life. After learning I had a choice, I made a commitment to focus on what I wanted to create (shift to Creator mindset), and as a result, my life changed.
The disempowering perspective -VICTIM mindset
When we identify as a victim, we lose power. It really affects how we act and react in our lives. The predominant expression of the victim mode is to blame.
Often, we don’t even see it as blaming, but an explanation of why we are miserable, unhappy or angry. It is simply somebody else’s fault. When we think and say, ‘that person made me angry’, ‘that person hurt my feelings’, all we are doing is giving that person credit for our personal life. We completely disempower ourselves and lose our ability to respond.
Understandably, sometimes it feels good to blame somebody else or even to hate someone else to remove the blame from oneself and alleviate a certain responsibility, but it doesn’t feel good long term. Though it may relieve some stress for a minute, blaming does not feel good long term. When we’re the victim, we give complete control of our lives and our emotions to other people or things (a.k.a the villain).
The reason why we are addicted to staying in victim mode is due to something that I call ‘fake advantages’:
- Attention and validation: It may feel good when other people are concerned about us and try to help us out.
- No need to step outside our comfort zones: We don’t have to risk rejection.
- No responsibility: Taking responsibility for our own lives can be hard work.
- It makes us feel right: The ego loves this. When someone else is wrong and we are right it can lead to pleasurable feelings (ha, I told you so).
The Empowering Perspective – Creator Mindset
Creators mindset starts with a belief that we are in charge of our lives and thanks to the responsibility we have taken for our own lives, we can change and adapt, making the best out of any situation. We may not always be responsible for circumstances, but we are blessed to be able to respond to them. By taking responsibility for our actions, the power we hold will silence the negative voice(s) in our heads. When we focus on success and goal accomplishment, we free up the emotional space inhabited by negative thoughts. This leads to positive, empowering action. Own your thoughts, feelings, actions and develop authority to make a change.
Creators don’t waste precious time or energy blaming and complaining. Instead, creators take deliberate action toward their dreams. Creators understand that their circumstance is no one’s fault but their own. This, in turn, gives them a unique advantage of continually improving upon their current selves.
They tap into an inner state of passion, directed by intention and focus on the desired outcome. We have the power in every single situation to ask the question, ‘What is my intention here?’, ‘How am I empowering myself or/and others this way?’
As defined by the Kapman Drama Triangle, we are much more than our personality, projections, stories and reactive habits (1). Embracing this can help shift one’s intention from victim to creator, or from disempowering to empowering mode.
The first step is to recognize and acknowledge the potential of being the creator of your own life. Reflecting on everything that you have accomplished without self-judgment. Being clear on what the circumstances are – things we do not have control over (our difficult backgrounds, the dysfunctional families, the average schools, the bad weather) and those which we have full control over (our own thoughts, feelings, and actions). We create our own lives and start by practicing this in everyday life.
Example: I may not be able to change what my husband said but I can change that I snapped at him because that’s what’s upsetting me. Now if I blame him the only way I can stop snapping is if he changes and never says anything which may upset me. Is that realistic? Is that empowering or disempowering? I can stop snapping even without him changing. I have the ability to respond vs react.
When we accept reality, we are the creators, we uphold and see the respective qualities in ourselves and others. We don’t have to pretend to be happy or live in denial. The one-step we can do, is to fully embrace responsibility, shift perspective and start to embody the fact that we are indeed the creators of our own lives.
Paula had just started a new job and moved to a new city. Her first six weeks at work had been very difficult. She had tried her best to make a good impression and show everyone how capable and fit she was for the job. But privately she had been struggling. The culture in the new place was very different. Her old job was very structured, with specific timelines, clear objectives and lots of resources. The structure in her new job was the opposite, very entrepreneurial and creative but without specific objectives and a lack of resources.
She hadn’t received a clear objective for her own role, never mind the company, and her boss had not yet sat down with her to take her through priorities. One morning she walked in and her boss said that the, ‘very important presentation to the executive board’(which was to happen in three months)had been moved forward to one week’s time. Unfortunately, she had focused on totally different projects, thinking she had more time. She was already feeling overwhelmed. Now she felt powerless and walked away with tears in her eyes.
She went back to her desk, took a deep breath and focused on her intention. Her original goal, her belief. She always wanted to try the entrepreneur job and be a leader. She did not realize how hard it would be. Still, she felt her intention very clearly, she did want to try and do her best. She was not ready to give up. (In that very moment she shifted her mindset from victim to creator)
You can think of examples of actions that might have followed.
So how does one go about shifting from the victim mindset to the creator mindset? If you have read this far, you have already begun the process. Simply, the awareness that you have given your power away to others can change your vision of the world forever. Now you can begin to reclaim your power.
I am going to draw an imaginary line right down the middle of your life. On one side you are a victim and on the other, you are the creator. One side you take zero responsibility for your life and that gives you permission to blame, complain, feel sorry for yourself, etc. Is there any area of your life where you may have been thinking from a victim mode? How do you feel? What comes up?
Stepping over to the other side, everything changes. You have full control over all your actions, how you look at life and how you feel. Full responsibility. You can, from now on, take full ownership, start making changes in different areas of your life, including health, relationship, career, friendships. How do you feel? What comes up?
Coaching Application practicing our own shift from Victim to Creator:
Practice what you preach. My strong belief is that we can truly only guide clients if we have done our own inner work. We must be brave and go deep, addressing all elements in our lives and taking responsibility to make a positive shift. We may not yet be able to run a marathon, but we can learn to walk.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality. This act is essential for any kind of self-knowledge. Carl Jung, (1951) Source: (TED https://www.powerofted.com/assets/pdfs/ShiftingOutOfTheDramaTriangle.pdf)
Practice awareness through mindfulness: Observe yourself in situations where you react or let your ‘monkey mind’ go wild. What are the elements in your life where triggers still ‘get you’ to fall into victim mode? Stay with it, don’t resist, don’t ignore. As a compassionate observer become aware and greet it with curiosity.
Practice responding. At the very moment you might not be able to be perfect but watch your thoughts carefully. Separate the story and the people. Remember, our thoughts create our feelings, it is not the other way around.
Challenge perceptions of reality. There are many ways to challenge our perceptions and move from the half-empty to half-full glass. Byron Katie asks four simple questions for any situation/story which creates a painful feeling:
- Is it true?
- Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (yes, you do ask this twice)
- How do you react when you believe that thought?
- Who would you be without the thought?
- Support the shift. Stay curious and patient on the journey. Rewiring your brain takes time. Establishing new habits takes time and whether this means getting your own coach or using a peer coaching forum, you are not alone.
- Set a ‘Creator Intention’. There are many books on the topic but simple visualization mediations every morning for 21 days is a good start. What is it you would want to create? Creator intentions books, podcasts, video content from Deepak Chopra, Rhonda Byrne, Esther Hicks. Find whatever resonates with you.
- Journaling. I could take time and write a whole book on the power of journaling. Journaling helps you gain a different perspective on life, on your past and your emotions. It unlocks your creativity and supports you in making the shift.
Ultimately there are two attitudes we can take in life: the attitude of a victim, or of a creator. A creator praises their creation; a victim criticizes. A creator lives in appreciation; a victim in the complaint, not taking responsibility. The first step to any change is our awareness and desire to change. Knowing that with practicing new habits we can rewire our stubborn brains and outgrow this limiting mentality. A life lived in a mindset of a creator, positive attitude, gratitude and kindness are far better than one in resentment and bitterness. Empowerment is available for anyone; the first step is to simply decide that we are readily being a victim. Are you?
To be empowered—to be free, to be unlimited, to be creative, to be genius, to be divine—that is who you are…. Once you feel this way, memorize this feeling; remember this feeling. This is who you really are…. Joe Dispenza
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
- The Power of TED (The Empowerment Dynamic)
- Karpman, M.D., Stephen B. karpmandramatriangle.com.
- Byron Katie, The WORK
- Nate Regier (24 April 2017). Conflict without Casualties: Leading with Compassionate Accountability.
- Choy, Acey (1990). “The Winner’s Triangle”. Transactional Analysis Journal. 20