Growing up Amish, I learned almost no social skills.
This was partly because of my naturally introverted and quieter personality, but it was also due to the fact that we didn’t really have a need for social skills at the time.
Our world was extremely small, and consisted of a close-knit group of families doing life together in a tiny community. I mostly interacted with immediate or extended family in daily life. I went to church, to school, and everything-in-between with the same small group of people.
| MY WORLD WAS TINY, AND SO WAS MY MINDSET.
I was the shyest, quietest kid you would ever meet. I would barely talk to people I didn’t know. I found it hard to make new friends. I held back in relationships. I didn't take risks. I wasn't a powerful person in relationships.
And I loved to play the victim in life. My mindset was this: everything was happening against me, it was never my fault, and I should always point the blame somewhere else. Any place other than on me.
I struggled for years with this. Transitioning out of the Amish lifestyle when I was 14 was the hardest thing I’d ever done up that point in my short life.
| Playing the victim is addicting, but it's also the most miserable existence we can have.
I played the victim in high school, as I let shyness become my identity. Therefore, I made very few friends. I felt alone and unknown, not because of anything that happened to me, but because of my beliefs and my attitude.
In my mind, I was a victim of my shyness. It was “who I am,” and I embraced that lie fully because it gave me an excuse to hide behind when I asked myself why I didn’t have any friends, or didn’t feel known or cared for by any one.
And it was all my own doing.
But fast forward to today, and I’m a completely different person. Now, I would be lying if I said I don't still have things to work through. But far and away, I am completely comfortable with the person that I’m becoming, totally confident in who I am, and have gotten rid of the old victim mentality that enslaved me when I was younger.
Below are 5 ways we can murder a victim mentality, and adopt an abundance mindset instead.
1. Take responsibility for our lives
My life turned around when I was able to cling to this truth:
“We don’t always get to control what happens to us, but we can always control what happens in us.”
In other words, I may not be in charge of my outside circumstances, but I can always be in charge of my inner reaction to that circumstance.
That quote changed my life completely. It anchors most of what I do, and it guides me when I become confused about what to believe about myself.
| If we can't take responsibility for our lives - for our thoughts, beliefs, and actions - then we'll remain victims to whatever life throws at us.
But once we take charge of our life and truly, undeniably own every single choice we make, then we are given the chance to sit in the driver's seat and create a life worth living.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” - Viktor Frankl
2. Destroy "I Deserve"
Those may possibly be the two most dangerous and self-sabotaging words that we could ever say. None of us deserve anything, really.
"I deserve," in my experience, typically stems from jealousy of what someone else has received, or from a lack of confidence in who we are. It's symptoms are laziness, entitlement, and greed.
To combat "I deserve" - and this is borrowed from Dr. John Townsend - we need to change our language from "I deserve" to "I am responsible."
"I am responsible" is empowering. It puts the power in our hands instead of the hands of someone else whom we can't control. It puts us back in control of our lives.
3. Believe that there is more than enough
As I've experienced for many years in living this out, a victim often believes in one or both of these two things: that they aren't enough, and that there isn't enough to go around. Not enough love, enough money, enough food, you name it.
We believe that one day, we won't have enough and we'll die alone.
Of course, this couldn't be farther from the truth. But it's an easy lie to believe when we are living life as victims of our surroundings.
But how do we change? To start, we must reverse our thinking from "there is never enough" to "there is always more than enough." Once we actually believe this, our lives will reflect it.
4. Be powerful people
Victims tend to act like powerless people who have no control of how they respond to what happens to them. This is how I was for many years.
Victims will often let people trample over them - emotionally, relationally, even physically - because they don't have a high value for themselves. They allow other people to treat them like trash, because they treat themselves like trash.
We always treat others like we treat ourselves.
Most of the time, it's the little things. Passive-aggressive comments, overly passive or aggressive remarks, hurtful jabs, harmless accusations that aren't so harmless.
The choice is up to us. We can choose to communicate our feelings and needs in powerful way - even to the people in our lives whom we respect and love the most - or we can allow those people to trample over us and re-affirm our victim lifestyle.
5. Give as if we have no lack
Those with a victim mentality often have a poverty mentality as well. If we pair "I'm not enough" and "I deserve," it's painfully easy to find ourselves tightly holding on to our resources - our money, time, and influence.
But those with an abundance mentality know that there is more than enough to go around. And if there's more than enough, we have no need to selfishly hog what we have.
| Giving is addicting.
I remember when I gave to charity for the first time when I was 18 years old. It was so fun! It is rewarding, and a small selfless act of kindness has huge effects on your life and the lives of others.
Try giving generously. With an open heart. It's too much fun. And the payback is mind-blowing.
Practical Next Steps
Did you see a victim mentality in your life in any of these points? Over the next week, see how you can combat that. Replace "I deserve" with "I am responsible." Watch how your life slowly starts to change for the better.