How to Free Yourself From Being a Victim

Step into your power and take the next brave step on your hero's journey.

November 11, 2015
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It's only natural to feel hurt, angry, or frightened because of the challenges you've faced throughout your life, especially if the traumas were perpetrated by another person.

But at some point on your hero's journey, you'll realize that your ability to accomplish your cosmic mission will be impeded by any blaming, shaming, and judgment that arises from your victim story. In other words, there's a statute of limitations on your victim story. 

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Hold onto it as long as you must, but when you're ready to step into your power and take the next brave step on your hero's journey, you'll be asked to let it go. Be gentle and compassionate with yourself. Seek support from others who understand this process. Then do what you must to transmute your pain into fuel for soul growth. (Try the 21-Day Practicing Compassion Challenge to transform yourself and the people you touch with compassionate actions!)

As spiritual teacher Ram Dass says, "Suffering is the sandpaper of our incarnation. It does its work of shaping us." Let life break you open and shape you into the hero you are becoming.

Are you ready and willing to do what you must to turn your blame and judgment into acceptance or even gratitude? Can you let go of feeling like you're a victim of evil people and a hostile universe? Can you accept that maybe your soul signed up for even your most painful traumas because these experiences taught you valuable lessons that grew you and strengthened your resilience? Are you ready for the next phase of your journey?

More: A Meditation for Compassion

Hero's Practice: Question Your Thoughts
If you notice a painful emotion bubbling up and feel like you might be stuck in a victim story, let yourself notice the emotion. Maybe you feel anger, fear, shame, disappointment, or grief. Close your eyes and allow yourself to simply feel the feeling, without judgment. Visualize the situation where you feel hurt. Where are you? Are you sitting or standing? Whom are you angry or upset with? Be very gentle with yourself.

See if you can identify the thought that creates the stressful feeling, the thought that makes you feel like a victim. Maybe you're thinking, "John is acting like a jerk" or "John shouldn't have said that" or "I need John to listen to me."

Question the thoughts that cause you stress using spiritual teacher and author Byron Katie's "The Work." First, ask yourself these four questions about the thought you've been believing:

1. Is it true?

2. Can I absolutely know that it's true?

3. How do I react, what happens, when I believe that thought?

4. Who would I be without the thought?

Then, turn the thought around by finding an opposite. For example, "I need John to listen to me" can be turned around to "I don't need John to listen to me," "I need me to listen to myself," and "I need me to listen to John." Find at least three specific, genuine examples of how each turnaround is as true as or truer than your original thought.

Adapted From Anatomy of a Calling