New Year’s resolutions are front and center on most folks’ minds today. Thousands of suggestions, “how tos,” and “best ways” are offered to help folks make, and carry through on, their New Year’s resolutions. Sadly, as in past years, 98% of those who make resolutions will have given up or failed by Valentine’s Day.
The cause of failure
Three major causes of failure are: (1) most of our resolutions are “mental” that is, often they are simply thoughts wrapped in a short burst of enthusiasm that is, unsustainable, ephemeral and short-lived, (2) our intentionality does not come from “inside” — from our Core Self, our heart and soul and (3) we’re caught in a “victim mentality” where scapegoating/blaming run our lives. As victims, we’re so obsessed with blaming that we lack the strength to gain clarity about why we resist change or fail to follow through on, or be committed to, our intentions.
When we understand the nature of “victim consciousness,” we gain insight into how true and real change occurs.
When I’m a victim
The victim is characterized by self-limiting and self-sabotaging habits and patterns of living, working and relating. It is these self-limiting patterns that prevent us from do-ing and be-ing from a place of honesty, integrity, self-responsibility, maturity, accountability, dedication, and commitment. It is our subconscious drives that cause us pain and suffering.
When we explore deeply inside, honestly and self-responsibly, we uncover our shadow self — a self who’s feeling victimized, or who lives a life of greed, ruthlessness, egocentricity, blind ambition, irresponsibility, inaction, and/or self-sabotage, who lives a life of quiet desperation.
Choosing to reflect on and become conscious of these habits, patterns and programming in an effort to release them supports us to evolve to a place where clarity and a truthful picture of our inner and outer realities will serve us well.
The need for reflection
When we choose to look deeply inside and reflect, we become more able to transform the energies of our self-limiting habits and patterns into the energy of authenticity, integrity and trustworthiness — supported by our inner qualities of courage, commitment and steadfastness.
Four characteristics of a victim mentality are:
- lack of clarity about our goals: ping-ponging between realistic and unrealistic or illusory expectations and goals, and blaming others for our lack of clarity;
- inability or unwillingness to deal with time and resource limits and constraints and blaming others, or events, for our inability or unwillingness to use time and other resources effectively and intelligently;
- confusion around the law of cause and effect — lack of awareness about how we are creating/causing the current events in our life and a lack of clarity about how we can change our thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, intentions, “stories,” behaviors and actions to effect positive change, believing that my issues are not about “me” but about others who are responsible for my issues; and,
- denial that my life choices have positive or negative mental, physical, emotional and spiritual effects on my overall health and well-be-ing, and that my pain and suffering are caused by some external event or circumstances, never by “me.”.
You’re responsible for my state in life!
Mired in the quicksand of victimization, we find ourselves constantly projecting our anger and negativity on to events, circumstances and others for our predicament. We project our (unconscious) inner frustration with ourselves out towards anyone or anything we feel we can blame for our state in life. Sadly, we’re actually creating our own universe, but blaming others because we have what we don’t want, or don’t have what we want.
The light comes from the dark
Taking time for honest and conscious self-reflection supports us to take responsibility for our self — including our “dark side.” Self-reflection sheds light on the “stories” we make up to avoid taking responsibility for how we project our “stuff” on to the world. Self-reflection supports us to identify how our emotional programming — anger, fears, etc. — create our lives at work, at home, at play and in relationship.
When we are honest and clear (i.e., see the “light”) about our wants and needs, and what we are willing to do, we can create a solid foundation for our personal growth and development, and healing. We attract and relate with others who share the same self-empowering life view.
When we understand the lessons we need to learn from our current situation, what we need to do becomes obvious. Here, we experience a “choice point” – where, if we choose to, we take a conscious path and take effective action to forward the action of our life, or, we choose an unconscious path, remain stuck in our “stories,” and continue to blame and finger-point. The “conscious choice” requires focus, commitment, consistency and compassion for our self.
Spending time in our inner world through meditation, mindfulness, silence, journaling, being in nature, etc., is both emotionally and spiritually nourishing. This nourishment supports awareness of the “how” and “why” things appear in our lives — how we are creating our personal universe. Time in our inner world nurtures our capacity for self-love and self-kindness — which support us to create and inhabit a love-based, victim-less personal universe.
Moving out of the victim mentality
In this place of safety and protection, we begin to extricate our self from a victim mentality and move forward from a place of positivity and steadfastness. In our inner world, there can be no victimization as it’s a place of neutrality — a place of soul qualities — clarity, peacefulness, groundedness, stillness, surrender and allowing.
Self-reflecting helps us observe how we use our emotions to create our inner and outer worlds, our worlds of victimization. For example, are we being “nice” and “giving” to accommodate others in our attempt to feel acknowledged, seen and loved or because we authentically wish to engage in psycho/emotional/spiritual adult, heart-felt, mature relationships. Are we holding our physical, emotional and psychological boundaries with others or allowing others to threaten and abuse our boundaries so we can feel wanted and liked?
Once we have cultivated support, self-love and solid ground within, we can expand our space to include others. But we must be very conscious not to include any event, circumstance, idea, thing or person who will take us away from our center, from our self-love and move us back into feeling the victim.
When we surrender to someone else’s agenda, at work, at home, at play and in relationship, we enter their universe as a victim. The important question is why we allow others to control us. Perhaps, (1) We lack our own solid and self-confident life agenda; (2) We aren’t in touch with our heart and soul and we don’t trust ourselves; (3) We look to satisfy our wants and needs outside ourself and accommodate and compromise to be taken care of; or (4) We follow a path of least resistance in an attempt to avoid conflict and “keep the peace.” In all of these, we give away our power and become the victim.
Inner work and self-reflection, done diligently can often support us to (1) to realize our own authority, our power, (2) to assume responsibility for what we create and (3) to own the consequences of our choices, decisions and actions.
Inner work and self-reflection can support us to focus on what really matters, to let go of what holds us back, to trust our soul and Spirit for guidance and to use our core, inner strength (not “willpower” which is usually a short burst of enthusiasm and which hardly ever works) to take positive action for our self instead of engaging in self-destructive and self-sabotaging actions, releasing our self from the stranglehold of victimization.
Many “resolutions” are not conscious choices. They are knee-jerk reactions to something we don’t like about our self — and it’s usually about our “packaging” or some surface issue. True “resolve” requires a deep, inner, and conscious process. The start of 2018 is a wonderful opportunity to change our experience of failed “resolutions” to one of true and lasting change and transformation. We can choose to release the victim within and see what being in true control of our life is really, really like.
Some questions for self-reflection:
- Who or what is my guiding authority? How is this authority working for me?
- What are my core values and how do they direct my choices and decisions at work, at home, at play and in relationship?
- How do I choose and implement my personal standard/values?
- Am I self-reliant? How so?
- Do I ever explore the dynamics of my inner world?
- What bright light shines in my inner world?
- What does not shine in my inner world? Do I know why?
- What feelings and thoughts inhabit my inner world? Are they supportive or limiting?
- Who’s in my personal world? Are they supportive or toxic? Do I want them there? How have I attracted them into my life? How so?
- Did I (or others in my family) experience being a victim when I was growing up? How so? What was that like?
- How can I create a more nurturing, loving and compassionate inner world for my body, mind and emotions?
(c) 2017, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful. Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.
What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”
I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.
I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com
You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.