When we are in self-sabotage mode, our thoughts fall into 3 distinct categories: 1. It’s not fair; 2. It’s all his/her fault; 3. I’m doomed and don’t know how to change. The subconscious mind works hard to prove us right. When we focus on our pain, our faults, and the unfairness of the world we, on a subconscious level, remain stuck in the emotion of helplessness.
1. Make Friends with Your Pain
In order to make friends with your pain, you must look at what’s underneath. How are your pain and perceived inadequacies serving you? Perhaps the tenets of why you show the world just how wounded you are is subconsciously steeped in your fear of not being good enough. Perhaps you feel unworthy of a good relationship and thus recreate the qualities of old hurtful relationships in each new one. Making friends with your negative thoughts is the first step toward letting go. Embracing how your pain serves you will teach you how to grow beyond your pain and eventually to release it fully.
2. Changing Your Inner Dialogue through Focus
Many people think stopping negative internal dialogue is difficult and that the mind is an entity outside of our control. The contrary is true. With practice, you can quiet your brain to get into what Judson Brewer, MD, PhD, Director of Yale Therapeutic Neuroscience C... calls flow. In flow, we are living in the moment, which is also called mindfulness. In this state, we trust that we are capable by putting all of our attention on the task at hand. You can also observe, without judgment, your internal dialogue. When you catch yourself in a negative thought pattern, you can form a visual (a Stop Sign is a good one, or a floating cloud) to counter that thought. Where your put our focus structures your reality.
3. Taking Responsibility
Releasing blame can give you the gift of knowing yourself. We cannot take responsibility until we fully know who we are. But bear in mind that taking responsibility is a practice like any other. Would you expect to magically shed 20 pounds just because you now recognize it is a good thing? Of course not! We all know we must develop a daily practice of eating healthy foods and exercising to lose excess weight. Taking responsibility requires the same level of practice. Catch yourself when you engage in practices that do not serve you. If there is resistance to a daily practice, ask yourself again how it serves you to stay in the emotion of blame. I discovered I was stuck in the emotion of blaming my ex-husband because of a fear of moving forward on my own. When I understood it was my own fear, the metaphorical extra weight I carried to protect myself from trying kept me in blame mode. It was all my husband's fault kept me from trying when the fear of failing rose up in my consciousness. The practice was to notice, simply notice nothing else, each time a negative thought came up. Then I added a way of dismissing that thought by envisioned it floating away on a cloud. I reminded myself that I was capable of moving into a prosperous life independent of my ex-husband, and then got right back to what I was doing.
What is most important within your practice of moving away from victim mentality is self-compassion. Have compassion for yourself as you grow and change. Understand that moving forward can only happen when you see yourself fully and without judgment. Carlos Castaneda said, "A man of knowledge lives by acting not by thinking of acting." Become an active participant in your own success. Journal, meditate, take a class, join a supportive group, practice mindfulness, and most importantly, lovingly be aware of how you see yourself. When you view yourself as capable, intelligent, and worthy others will see you that way, too.