Every now and then life likes to throw a great big cinder block in our path just to see how we react. 9 times out of 10 we’ll be able to sidestep it or leap over it. We’ll barely register this near miss and get on with our day. On other occasions though, we will stumble and fall and wonder how we can overcome obstacles.
When this happens we are presented with a simple choice. Do we get back up, or do we stay down on the ground? This choice is not as clear-cut as it may seem. Some of the “cinder blocks” in question can be pretty big hurdles, like debt, injury, bereavement or illness. Their effects may be far-reaching and hard to shake off, even with the most positive of attitudes. In an era that seems to breed negativity from depressing news headlines to awful behavior on social media, it can be oh-so-tempting to stay negative.
But when this happens, we can slip into a victim mentality. We can start to see causality between unrelated events and assume that this means that God or the universe is against us.
Unfortunately, this kind of mentality, while understandable, can be debilitating and have an adverse effect on our quality of life. It can prevent us from healing and become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Here are some ways in which you can prevent yourself from getting lost.
Recognize what’s not your fault and pursue justice where you can
One of the worst things about victim mentality is that it can recalibrate our cognitive faculties, causing us to assign blame to ourselves even for things which are not our fault. Needless to say, this is neither sustainable nor conducive to our mental health.
If we suffer a pedestrian injury by a negligent driver, we should be rushing to pursue justice and holding the negligent driver to account rather than allowing ourselves to be consumed by our “poor me” feelings. Unless we make efforts to be proactive, we cannot hope to break the cycle that a victim mentality can perpetuate and all the stress, anxiety and self-loathing that can go with it.
Look to our friends to call us out on our BS
Sometimes the bitterest pills are the ones we most need to swallow. Our friends love us, and they want to see us happy, but our true friends are the ones who won’t enable our unhealthy behaviors and call us out on our nonsense.
It may not feel like it at times, but these friends are worth their weight in gold as they can help us to break unhelpful cycles and find ourselves once again.
Apply some CBT principles
Like all unhelpful thought processes, victim mentality rarely bears scrutiny under the magnifying glass of logic. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be a real boon in catching and unraveling unhelpful thoughts before they take a toll on our psyche and our actions.
Are you able to overcome obstacles?
It’s important that we learn how to overcome obstacles. Only when we truly understand the less than helpful aspects of our psyche can we liberate ourselves from them.