One of the most common, disempowering beliefs that we hold onto in our lives is that other people have the power to hurt us. This belief, which I refer to as a victim mindset, usually presents itself in blame, shame or criticism. For example, how do you feel when someone cuts you off in traffic? How do you react when your partner says something hurtful towards you? Most of us get angry or upset, or feel hurt; and then we blame the other person for making us feel the way we do.
But the truth is, no one can make you feel anything. That which you feel is already within you, other people simply activate it.
If you think someone makes you feel angry, it is because there is anger within you. If you think someone makes you sad, it is because there is sadness within you.
What comes out when life squeezes you? If anger, pain and fear come out of you, it’s because that’s what’s inside. Dr Wayne Dyer
Let that idea sink in for a moment. All of the emotions you have ever felt in your life have not come from the actions of another, but rather from what you are carrying within you. There is no shame in this. You are human. It is normal, necessary, vital, that you experience the full spectrum of human emotion. The challenge is to remember that you are in charge of those emotions, and that only you have the power to affect them.
But how? What do we need to do in order to master our emotions and remove the victim mindset from our lives?
Mastering your emotions is simply a matter of becoming aware of, and taking full responsibility for, the way that you feel at any moment; without criticism, shame or self-judgement. The reason we must not judge our emotions is that they are rooted in our personal perspective which, even if mildly flawed, has been created from our life experience, good and bad, and it is important to honour that.
We never want to reject ourselves for feeling a certain way. Rather, we should make minor adjustments to our mindset so we can become less reactive to our emotions and become empowered. An empowered mindset is the polar opposite of a victim mindset.
To practice this, simply notice when an emotion is arising with
in you and instead of projecting it outwards or blaming it on somebody else, learn to just BE with the feeling.
This is very uncomfortable. Most people avoid doing it and so perpetuate the cycle of shame and blame. Getting comfortable sitting in our emotions is key in learning to take responsibility for our lives as a whole, and its what leads us to new levels of awareness and intimacy both with ourselves and others. It also provides us with the opportunity to change.
If we aren’t willing to sit with our emotions, we certainly don’t have the power to change them.