The year 2015 is coming to a close. How was it for you? For me, I had many ah-ha moments and learned a lot. Now, I am definitely not one to look highly upon New Year’s resolutions because more often than not, they are forgotten about by the first week of January. After Christmas, you always see weight loss commercials and it’s quite comical. Many people get pumped up about trying the new diet advertised after gorging themselves during the holidays. By the middle of January, those same people forget about that diet and go back to eating the way they did before. It’s quite predictable. However, I did not write this post to judge anyone. I’m just stating my opinions and observations about common New Year’s resolutions. However, I will share with you what I had learned about myself in 2015, and even well before that- and what I plan to do about it in 2016 and beyond.
Since 2014, I found myself extremely bored with my life, disappointed with how my life turned out, only saw myself as a failure and figured I was dealing with a mid-life crisis. As a result, I also found myself dwelling more on painful moments of my past such as the high school bullying I had endured- which was already over 25 years ago. I was dwelling on unfair judgments others made towards me while I had struggled in the past. I became very sad and disappointed in myself for not achieving more than I had. Nearly a decade ago, I published a few books that were not at all successful so I ended up giving up. I took a look at my life again and became even more sad about the hand I was given. I gave up on taking care of myself. I did not dress well. I gained a lot of weight and kept making excuses on why I could not lose it. I was also diagnosed with depression last year which I knew I had my whole life.
I became sick and tired of creating a facade by writing up blog posts only only on social media and recaps of my shows. That is when I wanted to start spreading awareness on depression because firstly, yes it is a real mental illness. Secondly, it is one of the mental illnesses that very few people take seriously. Not to mention, I ended up feeling like a complete hypocrite after interviewing successful professionals who overcame a lot to get to where they were while I was wallowing in my own muck. However, thinking back on it, I felt like a hypocrite because it forced me to take a good look in the mirror which I hated doing anyway.
Most of the professionals who I interviewed who succeeded also suffered from depression, low-self esteem, were dealt an unfair hand in life but yet they found themselves worthy enough to rise above it to get to where they were. Not long ago, I had come across a powerful article on the victim mentality and how this dangerous way of thinking keeps you trapped. I have to say this is one of the biggest and most uncomfortable ah-ah’s I had this year. Most people who suffer from depression have the victim attitude as well. And no one really knows whether the victim mentality causes depression or if it’s vise versa. It’s one of those chicken-egg questions. However, anyone can recover from depression and rising above the victim way of thinking is one way to do it.
I admit it, I have not been living a great life not just because of the hand I was dealt. My victim mentality is what has been responsible for my low quality of life. Now it is up to me to overcome that victim mentality and to find a way to rise above it. I am worthy of it, and I can do it.
I have been reading up on how to get past the victim way of thinking. Some of the tips are:
1. Practicing Gratitude. It’s easy to focus on what is bad in your life and as a result, we take the good and blessings for granted. If we spent as much time focusing on our blessings as we do on our shortcomings, we would be happier. Focusing on at least 3 new blessings per day will be helpful.
2. Quit Comparing Yourself to Others. One way I became miserable was by comparing the dull aspects of my life to someone else’s shining aspects. If anyone is always doing that, misery is guaranteed. Accept the fact that some will have it easier and there are others who have it much tougher than you. Everyone has a unique set of challenges and blessings.
3. Forgiveness. I have to say this is the most challenging part of overcoming the victim mentality. Forgiveness has nothing to do with condoning others who have wronged you. It is a matter of moving past it so you are not emotionally tied, and I think what is even more challenging than that is forgiving yourself for past mistakes. We all have to learn somehow.
4. Eating Well and Exercising. We are responsible for eating well and getting exercise for at least 20 minutes a day. I have committed myself to seeing a nutritionist and am going to be sticking to the plan because that in itself is a very important way to stay mentally healthy. The weight loss will be a bonus.
5. Find a way to Work Around your Obstacles. If the challenges in your life are bringing you down, find a way to work around them because everything can be worked around if you are proactive. Do some research or find a support group that will help you.
6. Acceptance. Accept the things in life you cannot change, there really is no other way around this. This tip may be as difficult to practice as forgiveness but it is one of the ways to overcome the victim way of thinking. Also, realize there may be a time in your life when you will be able to do something about the very thing that is stressing you out. The only way you will know is if you once again, do your research.
I am not going to say I am creating any resolutions. My commitment for 2016 and beyond (because this is going to be a life-long thing for me and for anyone who is working on rising above the victim mentality) is to work on myself, become responsible for my own happiness, stop thinking and behaving like a victim and to give myself a loving kick in the butt! By the way I expect to have days where I will regress because that is what being human is about. The thing I have to be mindful of, is to not stay there and to get back up. I do need to lose a lot of weight, however before I even think about that, I need to get myself out of this muck first. That way, I will have a much better chance at being successful with it. Happy New Year.