Currently, we are living in an unparalleled time filled with both challenge and opportunity at every turn. A new paradigm is birthing and fear is rampant as the world as we’ve known it falls apart in order to renew, realign and reharmonize.
No matter how grounded or expanded you are, it is a challenge to see the woods for the trees in the midst of endless natural disasters, polar vortexes, pervasive deceit, new wars, governments melting down, depraved indifference, contentious attitudes, random acts of violence, accidents and sudden illness (to name but a few).
When our lives suddenly zig left over a cliff, and everything we thought we knew (and even held dearly) isn’t anymore, we find ourselves asking big questions: Why am I here? What is the meaning of life? When is it my turn? Why are my efforts not yielding the results I want? What am I missing? And of course, the universal biggie we can all relate to, “Why me?”
Like all of us, I’ve had my share of pity parties but for some reason (probably because I’m one of those feisty fire signs) I was always ready to dust myself off and get back on the horse, which I was proud of. But there came a point when I realized I had to look at the deadly dynamic this was creating, and that’s when I really came to understand victimology and its counterpoint, the power of choice.
Here’s the short version of a long story…perhaps it will provide some answers to your own questions.
Fifteen years ago I wrote a book called, Self-Love-The Crown Jewel, which documented how I began my journey to self-love, the astounding things I was learning, and my greater understanding that it is the seat of our truest expression and freedom. One of the driving forces behind the creation of the book was to break the silence of family secrets and abuse, which had been violently forced on me, but eventually became conditioned choice.
For me, birthing the book was a watershed experience. I took a monumental leap out of the dysfunctional (yet seductively pervasive) victim mentality, challenged my misplaced pride as a survivor and publicly set out to become the winner of my own life.
Here’s why. I wanted to be happy. I wanted to know joy. I wanted to live fearlessly. I wanted to love instead of hate. I wanted to be healthy instead of wounded. I wanted to forgive instead of blame. I wanted peace instead of war. I wanted ease instead of chaos. I wanted to consciously create my life rather than live by default. I wanted to trust that no matter how it looks, all is well. I wanted to go with the flow rather than swim against the current.
And so I dubiously set out on a crazy three-legged race, determined to find my winner by helping my victim and survivor learn to surrender! Little did I know that along the way, I would learn as much about the collective experience of being human as I would about myself as an individual. What stands out the most now is that at one point or another we all spend time believing we are victims and that there are actually four stages of awareness that all humans travel through on our way to remembering who we really are and why we’re here…
But, this clarity was hard won and didn’t come until I really understood what it means to be a victim, a survivor or a winner. Here’s a bit of what I learned…
Victims are easy to recognize. We all know someone (even ourselves) who is (or was) wedded to their story, and to the endless drama of things they believe happen “to them”. Most victims are those whose actual sufferings are long past, yet their present is molded by the imprinting of those old events and circumstances, recreating history in one form or another over and over. This can lead to what I call the “career” victim.
Victims live in fear (actively or passively) believing that, “if it can go wrong, it will”, assuming they are powerless, thereby reinforcing their powerlessness. Victims see themselves as victims, helpless to change the circumstances of their lives.
All too often they are fully vested in the blame game, finding fault in everyone and everything but themselves. Forgiveness doesn’t come easily to victims and most live with some level of resentment, anger and shame. They see mountains (life’s challenges) as obstacles, just one more thing to prove that “bad things always happen” to them.
Survivors, on the other hand, see mountains as challenges to overcome. Compared to victims who live in fear, survivors endure. Always ready for battle, they live prepared for the next catastrophe. As a result, they can’t really move forward or finish anything as they live on red alert, always waiting for the other shoe to drop.
It took me awhile to figure out that survivors are victims’ alter egos. Rarely do you find one without the other as they share the same engine. Each one is focused on what can go wrong, but from a different perspective. In my case, I created a constant menu of disasters (unconsciously of course) that I could survive. I became a master at making lemonade (survivor) out of the lemons (victim) life served up and that became my identity, Survivor in Chief!
And I was in estimable company because around the world we give a lot of power to survivors. We wear our badges of honor proudly, the pink ribbon, the purple heart, the yellow wristband etc. But, as I learned the hard way, the sad truth is these tokens of valor often come with a higher price tag than what it took to earn them in the first place. Being a survivor can be a lot to live up to, a self-perpetuating hell of beating the odds.
But winners change the game entirely. They break the tie so to speak. Winners see mountains as gifts, opportunities for inspiration and wisdom. They accept responsibility for their lives and know they are always at choice. They know they can focus on either that which creates fear, or that which fills them with joy. Winners understand that to follow their bliss creates more of it.
I have come to understand that winners live in all of us, just as victims and survivors do. Winners are born out of having suffered the agony of defeat, but instead of staying curled up in a ball, they choose to use what they’ve learned to positively move forward.
Obviously it wasn’t an overnight process to get clear on the difference between these three, but when I did, it was a hallelujah moment. Immediately, I was liberated from the illusion I was a wounded animal and always would be. Empowered like never before, I took creative charge of my life, and while the patterns of victim and survivor took time to dissolve, positive change prevailed. Today, my adrenals kick into high gear once in awhile and I can still whip out my “Pitiful Pearl” crying towel just like anyone else, but for the most part I create my life from the winner’s circle.
What that means is…I’m not ashamed to follow my bliss anymore. I have given up my old glasses for new ones. I look for possibility in everything, see the glass as half full, lemons are just lemons and have transformed Murphy’s Law into Murphy’s opportunity. Instead of looking for trouble, I look for LOVE and find it everywhere. My life is not in chronic chaos; my body is actually happy; I know that I am enough and thriving has replaced surviving.
I use the four stages of awareness, which I call our “Spiritual Blueprint” as my everyday compass…
- Stage 1 – Victimhood (To Me) The belief that things happen to you, that you are separate and powerless, that everything is outside of you and beyond your control. This is the ego mind which lives in fear.
- Stage 2 – Understanding Co-Creative Process (For Me) Beginning to understand that there is a connection between what shows up in your life and the way you think/feel (conscious and unconscious). You still think things of the world are outside you but positive thinking evens the playing field. (Law of Attraction) The truth of your true power begins to grow.
- Stage 3 – Interconnection (Through Me) You begin to realize that you live within and are one with Greater Mind (Source). You know there is a universal energy that moves within you, through you, around you and is you. You not only change your thoughts but you also surrender your ego mind to this flow, exponentially expanding your awareness.
- Stage 4 – Incorporation/Transfiguration (As Me) You realize that separation is just an illusion and that you are Creator consciousness. You experience the interconnection of all life and beauty. You experience yourself as LOVE, and you manifest accordingly having woken up into Greater Mind (Source).
As for me, I don’t spend much time in Stage 1 anymore but occasionally I catch myself in the middle of a life is hard, why me movie. The good news is, now I take my popcorn and leave the drama behind. Stage 2 is where I spent most of my three-legged race. It is where I learned to love myself because it is there that we all learn we are the creators of our own lives. I caught on quickly that if I could change the way I thought (and my corresponding feelings), I would change my life. It worked! I began to see the good in myself and in turn my life reflected it back. I got my first taste of winning here.
Today, for the most part I live between Stages 3 and 4. I’m still evolving just like we all are and the chaos of change can suck my ego mind into the old fear pit of forgetting who I really am and what my heart really wants. I know it sounds cheesy, but each of us truly is the change we want to see in the world. Which do you choose, victim or winner? Fear or LOVE?
I look forward to hearing your stories of crossing the finish line, and if you liked this post, please share the LOVE on Facebook and Twitter too! Thanks!
XXOO – Please remember to LOVE yourself today.