“People don’t drown by falling into the water.
They drown by not getting out of it.”
~ Michael I. Kaplan ~
As much as I hate to admit it sometimes, I’m human. There are times I experience bouts of depression, anger and frustration with my environment and current circumstances.
Nowhere was this more apparent to me than during my first few years stumbling down the path of professional self-sufficiency.
I recognize this behavior as perfectly normal and take all the necessary steps to minimize its impact on my life. In the end I have no choice; I am committed to being successful and I realize this temporary mindset stands in my way as an obstacle which needs to be managed.
If we drop our guard and fail to pay attention to the signs, some of which are more obvious than others, it’s fairly easy to get sucked into the abyss of this condition. It’s an ongoing battle all of us must fight when we make the conscious choice to succeed.
To explain this condition in broad terms, I offer the analogy of a drowning victim. The victim believes all control has been lost to stay above water despite the fact their arms and legs are functional.
They’re overwhelmed by panic and lose all capacity for rational thought, pleading for help at the top of their lungs while concurrently believing they are deprived of oxygen.
The rescuer, motivated but inexperienced, swims up to the victim with the intention of bringing the victim to safety. Desperate to stay afloat at all costs the victim climbs up on the rescuer. The rescuer is forced under water and drowns. The victim drowns shortly thereafter.
The dynamic described in this analogy accurately reflects the mindset of an individual suffering from “victim status” on dry land.
Individuals who get trapped in a victim mindset are more than pessimistic; having no perceived control over their life or the world around them, they feel completely helpless. Any would-be rescuer that happens to hear their cries for help will soon find themselves as the victim.
Don't become a victim that brings down everyone trying to rescue you. Adopt these 4 tips in your self-rescue plan and use them to your advantage.
Tip #1: Recognize the role of “Secondary Gains.”
In psychological parlance, a secondary gain refers to an indirect benefit, typically in the form of an interpersonal of social advantage, which a person with a victim mentally receives by not overcoming the underlying problems associated with the condition. More simply stated, it’s the mechanism of reward a person initiates to allow them to remain stuck in the victim cycle.
Tip #2: Seek out opportunities for empowerment at any level.
In order to create a sense of empowerment anywhere in your life you must establish non-negotiable boundaries that allow you to express a sense of control over your environment. Only then will you begin to realize you have established a strong enough presence to project that sense of empowerment into other facets of your life.
Tip #3: Recognize that “fault and blame” are useless to you.
Fault and blame serve no other purpose than to transfer rightful ownership of control from one person to another. As a consequence, those who transfer control to another person end up losing it themselves instantly. The price you actually paid for that maneuver was a regression back to a powerless position.
Tip #4: Recognize the need to forgive yourself and others.
If you consider the steps required to defeat the victim mindset the logic of this process is quite simple. Once you recognize secondary gains exist in your behavior, you correct your mindset and break the cycle of entrapment. You then seek out opportunities of empowerment within your environment to establish a sense of control.
Accepting bad experiences from the past as lessons for your future allows you to move forward with no restrictions. Your success demands a “clean slate” with a strong foundation.
Once you have the knowledge needed to defeat the victim mentality and make the choice to adopt a “victor mindset,” the transition from crisis to crisis becomes much easier to manage. Trust me … I know what it feels like to be a "drowning victim" desperately trying to keep my head above water in a search any success to keep me afloat.
There’s nothing better than finally achieving success and getting back on to dry land with an effective self-rescue. Pull yourself out, dry off and drive on … 2017 is going to be a great year.