Do you see yourself as a hero/heroine or a victim?
To really know if someone is successful in life, there’s one question that needs to be answered about them: How many times does that person put themselves in a position of a victim?
A victim is a person who often talks down about themselves; as if they are not in control of their life or the possibilities of their future.
There is a loud voice deep down inside of this person that consistently whispers they have been dealt a bad hand in life. Usually, this person has an innate belief that others are out to get them or others are responsible for their failures. With these limiting beliefs and negative thought patterns, a person convinces themselves they are a victim in life. Life then responds back by validating those limiting beliefs, further perpetuating the vicious cycle of depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.
The reality of life is, many people are victims. Everyone has been and will be a victim at some point. According to Donald Miller, a author, public speaker, and CEO of StoryBrand, “the difference between being a victim and a hero is that a victim lies down while a hero rises up and succeeds against all challenges and oppressor.”
Personally, I grew up poor and spent my childhood with government supported subsidies. Moving from Tanzania where we lived in a mansion, to struggling to survive in Southern California, was not only a painful culture shock, but also a crippling socio-economic shock. My family worked long hours just to make ends meet. Every paycheck from 15 years of age, went to pay bills and survive so we can continue to get an American education, and one day live the “American Dream.” I recall watching my peers glee in play, while the concepts of joy and freedom felt so distant for me. My father would leave early in the morning and come back late at night, working long hours to feed and keep us alive. He was always too stressed to be present for us growing up. My mother was always trying to manage the home and provide us all our basic needs - to the point that she missed the emotional healing we needed as children. My mother always saw herself as a victim and believed she was dealt a bad hand in life, Everyone was responsible for the poverty our family experienced, except her. Everyone was responsible for her unhappiness, except her. Everyone was responsible for her not feeling respected by the community, except her.
As I got older, I struggled with the victim mentality too, and had adopted an attitude of defeatism. I didn’t get into the college I had dreamt about, and it was their fault. I couldn't afford designer clothes and it was their fault. I didn’t get to go to parties because I had to work and it was their fault. Then one day, a family friend who bore witness to my struggles and victimism asked me, “Why do you always lie like your mother?” This was an incredible question that changed my life.
The quality of our lives are based on the quality of our answers and the quality of the questions we ask. As Shannon Alder puts it, “courage doesn’t happen when you have all the answers. It happens when you are ready to face the questions you have been avoiding your whole life.”
In this moment, I realized I had become my mother - a victim who didn’t believe in the beauty and possibilities of my future. I lied because I wanted others to feel sorry for me. I lied because I wanted support. I lied because I didn’t think I could do it on my own. I made a decision to be the heroine I was always destined to be. This decision allowed me to break the victim legacy that suffocated our family for generations.
The reality is, as a woman of color, I grew up with little privilege and I grew up poor. Many times the color of my skin shut doors for me and it wasn’t easy. Despite these physical and mental challenges, we all can transform ourselves from seeing ourselves as victims to seeing ourselves as resilient heroes/heroines on the journey of life. A victim essentially exists in a story to make the hero look good. Usually, a victim does not grow, elevate, receive success, or transform their life at the end of the story. I no longer desired to live the victim legacy.
We all play the victim role when things get hard and are in need of being rescued. This is part of the human experience and the exchange of love and support. The victim role can be temporary and does not have to turn into a victim legacy of permanence that is passed down generations. Gather the strength to call out for help and transform your life back into the hero.
No one can keep you down and force you to be a victim. When you see yourself as a victim, people around you will “either feel sorry for you or feel good about themselves while trying to rescue you” (Donald Miller). However, you play the biggest role in your story! Begin to own your story and transform it into the power you are by awakening the “Shakti” within you.
You get to make the decision to transform your emotional pain into personal power today!
When you fight for your birth given right to succeed, thrive, and love life, millions of people around you will fight with you. Communities are built on missions and people love to join a hero on their mission. Heroes lead the charge into a fight. Heroes rescue, support and help heal others. Heroes gain strength and overcome their limitations and limiting beliefs. This is an identity you get to place on yourself. How do you want to see yourself?
Your emotional and mental growth is rooted in your identity. In order to transform from the victim to hero/heroine identity, you get to learn how to fall in love with yourself. There are days where I have to gather strength to move through the victim mentality and remind myself of the daily practice of love. Healing begins with love. Let’s work on being in love with the person in the mirror. You have been through so much and are still showing resilience. As your personalized therapist, I help you navigate the challenges of adulthood & manage your limiting beliefs so you can turn your wounds in wisdoms, reclaim the power that is already within you. I am a heroine that is learning to get better each day - and I can help you be at your full potential as you journey through your life.
Your life is too important to suffer the victim’s fate.
Ektha Aggarwal is a licensed South Asian Therapist and CEO of Shakti Therapy and Healing Services in Los Angeles, CA. Ektha specializes in working with South Asians (Indian & Desi) and people of color to break the stigma around mental health and instill the concept of immigrant resilience. If you are ready to feel empowered, effortlessly achieve your goals, and feel more happiness in your life, schedule a complimentary consultation now.