We learn at a very young age that in order to win at the game of life, we need to protect our true selves. As toddlers, we studied the faces of our caregivers and measured their behavior. We instinctively understood what it took to be safe and loved and we adjusted our behavior accordingly. More or less, we did what we had to do in order to keep the people who fed and loved us happy. Hiding true selves became a tool for survival.
Fear, generational curses, pleasing, and silencing ourselves are useful coping mechanisms we employ to get ourselves out of childhood alive.
We learned to interpret every sigh or minute inflection in our parents’ voices. We knew what brought a smile to our friends’s faces. We learned how to avoid the bully. We adopted attitudes, beliefs, and actions to fit in. Our truest selves were all but buried in the process. We put on masks to fit in at home, school and in the world around us, and we became disconnected from our true selves.
We arrive in adulthood believing it is safer to wear the mask and play nice in the sandbox than it is to risk ridicule or alienation. Our inner selves atrophy. We no longer trust ourselves. We grow resentful.
It’s no wonder so many of us feel like we are victims of our childhood, our circumstance, or the universe!
And here is the real kicker: as suffocating as being a victim might feel, victimhood proves to be a pretty safe and cozy place.
Victimhood can keep you safe because as a victim you can refrain from trying. Or failing. It gives you excuses to stay small, to place blame, to excuse bad behavior or a lackluster life. Victimhood can keep you suffering silently. It can keep you tethered to jobs, relationships, beliefs, and values that no longer serve you. Victimhood can keep you feeling angry and powerful, which feels better than the terror of vulnerability.
Being a victim of the universe can keep you insulated, stuck, and shackled to a life that depletes you. It can make you miserable.
The truth is, the world is not out to get you. You are just carrying around thoughts and beliefs that no longer serve you. Victimhood is a hangover from childhood.
You aren’t a pawn in the game of life.
At any point, you can develop a new habit of thinking, one that better aligns who you are today and who you want to become tomorrow. You can switch out outdated beliefs for more empowering thoughts. You can, step by step, question your habitual thoughts and beliefs. You can ask yourself, ‘Is this thought serving me?’ and if it isn’t, dump it. You’ve outgrown a lot from your childhood. Give yourself permission to let go of worn-out beliefs that no longer fit you. Instead, choose thoughts and actions that support your inner self.
Is dumping victimhood worth the terror of exposing your inner self to the world?
Yes, it is! Your inner self is desperate to guide you to a life that feels more aligned with who you are today.
When you stop believing the world is out to get you, here are five things you can expect:
- Your relationships will blossom.Knowing the world or the universe is not out to get you will allow you to have vulnerable and honest conversations that are more likely to get your emotional needs met. If you find your emotional needs aren’t being met, you’ll have the self-respect, confidence, and courage to address it. If you truly believed the universe had your back, there would be no need to tolerate bad behavior.
- You’ll take healthy risks that pay off.If you were certain the universe had your back, what chances would you take? What would your love life look like? How would you live? What would you do for work? Fear of failure keeps you stuck. Clutching certainty keeps you small. Healthy risk-taking will change your work, your leisure, your environment, and your self-talk. If you believed the world wasn’t out to get you, you’d trust that if you jumped into the unknown, a safety net would appear if needed.
- You’ll no longer have to hustle for your self-worth. When you believe the universe supports you, you’ll no longer truncate yourself or please people in order to feel validated, needed, or important. You will no longer need to prove yourself in order to feel loved. You will not have to boast or crush those around you in order to feel smart. You will no longer demand respect; you will have already earned it.
- You will trust yourself. When you trust the universe has your back, you develop habits that support your mind, body, and spirit. You will set goals, small to start and commit to them. Your inner self begins to understand you are a person of your word. You will no longer have use for self-sabotaging behavior that fuels self-loathing. You’ll learn to make decisions that launch you forward.
- You will comfortable in your own skin. Knowing the world isn’t out to get you renews your energy. It gives you a zest for life, a lightness, and palpable joy that is irresistible to others. Being comfortable in your own skin is deeply attractive; it is a quality found in the best partners, friends, and leaders.
The moment we decide that the world isn’t out to get us is the moment we can make decisions and choose thoughts that support our truest selves. Believe you are supported and watch your happiness grow.