Everyone, including you, has experiences that are unwanted.
Perhaps it is annoying.
Perhaps it is frustrating.
Perhaps it was unexpected.
Perhaps it was something that you are sure you did not deserve.
Perhaps it was a loss of some kind.
Perhaps this circumstance was something irreversible,
or even tragic.
What’s done is done.
The question remains, though, how are you going to deal with this experience?
An almost inevitable temptation to feel victimized will likely arise.
This reaction is programmed into the human nervous system,
and experiences that trigger feelings of victimization
simultaneously cause the release of cortisol
and other stress hormones in the body,
which impact the way you feel.
So now you not only have to contend with the thoughts of being victimized, you also have to contend with the feelings of being victimized.
It would be normal to sink into low energy responses to the situation:
self-pity, hopelessness, helplessness, defeat.
All four of these reactions lead to failure.
Self-pity leads to failure because it is completely de-motivating.
Why do anything when you lose yourself in feeling sorry for yourself?
Hopelessness leads to failure because it guides you away from thoughts that would generate new possibilities.
New possibilities are all around you, but hopelessness acts like a blinder on a horse. You can’t see what is right next to you.
Helplessness leads to failure because it denies you access to your own power.
You do have the ability to shift your perspective. Doing that will cause the entire situation to show up differently. But that will never happen while you are focused on how helpless you feel.
Defeat leads to failure because accepting defeat leads to quitting.
Quitting without accomplishing what you set out to accomplish is the definition of failure. Quitting is so easy compared to digging in, learning something new, and going for it again. Risking loss and defeat again.
Are you willing to accept those consequences?
Are you willing to define yourself as a victim?
You can do this.
Many, many people do react this way to misfortune.
You don’t need a crystal ball to see where that path leads.
Living life as a victim leads to addictive choices.
The pain of feeling victimized is so uncomfortable that the choice to allow it into your system almost guarantees that you will choose some habitual means of dulling that pain.
What is your dulling mechanism of choice?
Comfort food? Alcohol? Drugs? Netflix? Pornography? Over-working? Shopping? Gambling?
Clearly you have all these options, and many more.
Each in their own way affects the release of dopamine in your brain.
Dopamine usually feels good.
And once you start down that road, your brain will whisper,
“More. Give me more. That’s not enough. I want more.”
That whisper, that voice, will lead you down a self-destructive path. There is no more that is ever enough. The best of these distractions lead to sleep sooner rather than later. Sleep can serve as a reset button. When you wake up you have a chance to center yourself and begin again.
The most destructive of these patterns
allow you to move deeper and deeper
into this “give me more” loop
that demands more and more of your resources:
the precious minutes of your life,
the influence that you bring to the situation,
and your money.
These destructive patterns will take it all: everything you have.
You find yourself nowhere with nothing.
You then truly are a victim,
but a victim of your own destructive choices.
But there is another choice.
Instead of allowing yourself to define yourself as a victim
of these unwanted circumstances
you can choose to take responsibility for them.
“What?” you might say.
“This is not my fault. I’m not to blame here.”
And I would agree with you.
But taking responsibility is in no way the same as assigning fault or blame to yourself.
Taking responsibility for each and every circumstance in your life is the path to power.
True, circumstances are what they are.
I’m not saying that you necessarily have the power to change the circumstances.
Often, we can’t control the circumstances themselves.
But you can choose what you think about these circumstances.
You can choose what meaning you make of these circumstances.
Your thoughts will determine whether you create empowerment for yourself,
or whether you sink into a powerless state of mind
that leads nowhere you want to be.
So how can you take responsibility for a circumstance that may be out of your control?
You can choose to make empowered meaning in the face of those circumstances.
Start by asking yourself, “How do I want to feel in the situation?”
Once you know how you want to feel, then ask yourself, “What thought can I think about these circumstances that will lead me to that feeling?”
Can you see that this path is now all about you?
All your power, and all your control, are now firmly planted where they can make a difference: in your own experience.
Other people can be and do whatever they want.
You are focused on choosing the thoughts and feelings you want to have.
This is powerful stuff.
Choosing empowered thoughts and empowered feelings leads to inspired and effective action.
Effective action leads either to success, or to learning something useful.
Either way you are moving forward, focused on what you want.
Owning your power to co-create with life.
How cool is that?
By the way, if you choose your thoughts and feelings consistently, you will find yourself becoming unstoppable.
Circumstances no longer control you. You control you. This is an awesome way to live.
Take responsibility. Do not sit back and think that you cannot do things. You can do them. If you don’t have what you want, then change your thoughts. This is how you start on your journey of success.