Somebody should do something!
Why doesn't Congress pass a law?!?!?!
What is this world coming to?
What is wrong with kids/parents/humans today?
When something goes "wrong" in the world, do you (or I) respond with one of the above questions (or something similar), or do we respond by looking inside ourselves to see what we can fix within ourselves to heal the world?
Yeah, I get it. That statement sounds like some woo-woo bullsh*t. At least, that's how I would've reacted just a few short years ago.
You see, back then I was working for the propaganda industry, counseling trade associations, lobbying groups, and politicians alike how to whip people into a frenzy through the use of social media posts and ads, emails and robocalls.
When you get people into that state of fear, anger, and fight or flight, they are more controllable because they are operating from a place of self-preservation. Their subconscious minds are on the lookout for enemies, and so any notion of critical thinking or self-reflection is out the window.
The State of Victimhood
The first stage of awakening and empowerment is victimhood. This is the stage where it's always someone else's fault.
Guess who loves victimhood?
If you guessed "politicians" and "corporations" you'd have guessed correctly.
When you're a victim, they can more easily sell you on the illusion that you're "just one more vote" or "one more product" away from improving your lot in life.
A drug is so much easier to sell to a victim than eating more nutritiously and getting more exercise.
Free government cheese is so much easier to sell to a victim than financial education and entrepreneurial growth.
Heck, just this past week we see the headlines that "climate change" — not poor nutrition and sedentary habits — are to blame for the rise in childhood obesity.
The past two years, people with victimhood mentalities were led to believe that nutrition and exercise had little or nothing to do with their "health outcomes."
Two weeks ago, someone on Facebook reported me for "misinformation" for a post in which I had the audacity to share my opinion that "health lifestyle choices matter."
You begin to pull yourself out of your victimhood mentality when you begin to take 100% responsibility.
Responsibility for your choices.
Responsibility for your behaviors.
Responsibility for your lifestyle.
Responsibility for your beliefs.
When you do this, you become a free agent. You're empowered and self-sufficient; no longer in need of the wonder drug or politician or product to live your life of joy, fulfillment, and freedom.
This podcast episode isn't just about me casting aspersions at people with a victimhood mentality. I'm the first to admit that I can fall into that mentality from time to time.
My daily challenge is to take 100% responsibility for my beliefs and behaviors. Like most people, I'm a work-in-progress. But being aware of whether or not you are taking responsibility is an important step in pulling yourself from victimhood to empowerment.
When you see a news story about a child committing an act of violence somewhere in the world, your 100% natural human reaction is to be sad and angry. But what if, instead of blaming the world and the politicians, you decided to go home, hug your own children, and ensure that you're taking a more intentional and active role in their lives?
When a friend or family member posts something on social media that "triggers" you, what if, instead of blowing your top and getting in an argument, you looked within yourself to find what inside of you was being reflected by that person's post? What belief or memory inside of you caused you to be so triggered by a social media post?
If you constantly find yourself angry and sad about the state of the economy, the war, the society, whatever — instead of cursing the world and the politicians, what if you took the responsibility to limit the type of noise and information you allow into your mind? As someone who used to help craft the news, I can tell you that it's more about entertaining today than it is about information.
(I recently heard Robert Kyiosaki, author of "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" share the acronym, M.I.L.K., which stands for: More Information, Less Knowledge.)
If the above examples sound naive to you, I invite you to ask yourself how your current beliefs and behaviors are working out for you. Is the blame game and victimhood mentality improving the world? Is it improving your world?
The Freedom to Choose Your Challenge
Your lot in life right now — my lot in life right now — is the sum of the decisions each of us has made up to this point.
If you really like where you are right now, that's a pretty awesome thought.
But, guess what? If you don't like your lot in life right now, it should be an empowering thought, because it means where you are tomorrow will be the sum of the decisions you start making right now.
Some of these decisions will be conscious decisions. Most of them will be subconscious decisions.
But they are your decisions.
The more you start owning these decisions, the less you will allow yourself to fall into the victim mentality. Responsibility leads to ownership, which leads to accountability.
On last week's episode, I interviewed entrepreneur Isaac Morehouse who, when I asked him for his definition of freedom, responded, "I think freedom to me is choose your own challenge."
"Because it's not freedom from difficulty or freedom from struggle or hard work, but it's the freedom to choose the hard work that you're doing and the struggles and the challenges that you face."
We choose our challenges based on our decisions. Isaac added...
"You're in a situation that you feel, you know, you don't want to be in. Knowing that you were the one who chose to put yourself there. If you can't immediately get out, at least saying no one else is responsible for this. I am. But if you can, once you realize you're responsible, you often start to find all these creative ways that you can exit the situation, if not immediately, soon."
Once you realize you're responsible, you often start to find all these creative ways that you can exit the situation.
You can check out my interview with Isaac here:
Responsibility leads to empowerment. Empowerment leads to creativity.
I invite you to compare yourself to water in a mountain stream and the power of allowing yourself into a state of Wu-Wei, or effortless flow, even when the boulders (i.e., challenges) fall in front of us.
It's not our fault that the boulders fell in our path; but it is our responsibility to flow over, around, or through the boulders with creative solutions. And, as Isaac points out, the only way we can do that is if we realize that we chose the challenge in the first place with our decisions, conscious and subconscious alike.
Our Beliefs and Behaviors
With my 1:1 clients, or the participants in my Beliefs & Behaviors Workshop or Mindful Month Decelerator, we really stress the importance and power of taking 100% responsibility.
The victimhood game leads to the blame game which leads to creating enemies which leads to fight-or-flight, which leads to a jumpy, jumbled, tense, stressed mind in which we are incapable of being more mindful.
When it comes to our beliefs and behaviors, it is imperative that we take the responsibility to go within to do the work on ourselves without allowing the noise of the outer world to penetrate the citadel of our minds. That's the only way we can do the self-surgery necessary to align our beliefs and behaviors to the point that we attract what we want in life.
Remember: It's not your fault, but it is your responsibility.
And if you'd like help taking the responsibility to go within to rediscover your natural, free state so you can live your life of joy and fulfillment, click here to book a call with me.
Author Note: When I use the word "victimhood" I'm not referring to, say, the victim of violence or the victim of a crime. How we react or respond to any situation, however dire, can determine if we plunge ourself into the victimhood mentality or rise into empowerment. When my father was diagnosed with cancer (he has since passed) he didn't curse the world or God; instead, he took responsibility for his lifestyle and health behaviors up to that point, and chose to direct his behaviors moving forward. We always have a choice about how to react or respond to any situation.