There is a woman who has been burdened for a long time. She had spent her entire life feeling like an outcast — someone who is different and will never fit in. No one likes or wants her, and all she wants to do is change her identity.
She has abilities, but life never allows her to put them on display in a way that allows her to stand out. Her good intentions never seem to matter since she speaks a language that only allows her to be misunderstood. No matter how hard she tries, at the end of the day overwhelm still comes over her along with the feeling that she just doesn’t have what it takes. Maybe she’s just reaching too far.
There is a woman not far from her who has gone through significant life experiences that have taught her crucial lessons because she was strong enough to learn them and brave enough to let herself burn to ashes and rise on the other side.
This woman allows her sensitivity to be her guiding force that tells her where her energy and help is needed, and spends each day like a wonderful adventure, learning more and more about herself and the world, how they are alike and how they are different. She has the privilege of being imperfectly human and using her many imperfections to show others that they are not alone and to teach them how to embrace and make the most out of the parts of themselves they see as disadvantages.
She knows that her life experience and the wisdom she has gained from it is the biggest blessing she could have, and looks to every new challenge as an old friend who is returning to help her learn a new lesson – never with malice, only with love.
These two women know each other very, very well. And yet, they coexist, never changing each other, only changing from one to the other.
Yes, both of these women are me. Sometimes in the same day. Sometimes in the same hour.
I have been participating in Anna Kunnecke’s Queen Sweep and one of the very first tasks she gave was to write your own victim/hero story. The hero in me wanted to write it right away, but the victim won out for a week, until the hero’s motivation to share it with you became too strong and finally allowed it to succeed.
Read also: Can Money Actually Buy You Happiness?
The difference between good and amazing
I have recently been following and studying people who inspire me through their very energy – people who create and give without limits, without fear, without holding back, from a fully authentic place. Some examples that I’ve recently been fascinated by are Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income (one of the few passive income sites that is decidedly unscammy and unsleazy and just refreshingly honest) and Jonathan Fields (who rivals Seth Godin in his originality IMHO, only with more personal sharing – always a plus in my book).
These people have a remarkable ability to be honest and authentic without fear or apology (yet in a way that is completely not in-your-face), and are always helping, always generously creating content that gives instead of asking, that’s made to help instead of get (follows, shares, sign-ups).
After studying them for a while, I have reached the conclusion that they are letting their inner hero out much more than most people do – which gives them this unique energy, productivity, and creativity.
They are an open book because they don’t allow their inner victim to feed them fear stories, they create because their motivation for giving and serving is always top-of-mind as a powerful driver, and they treat every obstacle like an opportunity, which makes progress much more energy-efficient (thus increasing productivity).
The two people inside of you
If you have heard the old story about the good and the bad wolf inside of you, you’ll know the one who survives is the one you feed. Growing up in Romania, I saw everyone around me feeding their inner victim. Later, I learned that communism has a way of doing that. I suppose it comes with giving your power away (and responsibility, which is the way we own our power).
Your inner victim is the part of you that wants – it wants more attention, it wants more love, it wants more money. It never has enough. So it constantly looks outside of itself to get more. It’s like a leech, only without the healing properties.
Your inner hero is your soul’s answer to that. It’s the part of you that is aware of its abundance, claims power through responsibility, and overflows through generosity and love. It’s like a ray of warm sunlight, or a spring of fresh, clean mountain water – there’s always plenty more love where that comes from.
The problem is that these two parts of yourself can’t coexist at the same time. You are either the one or the other, and the victim usually fights harder to come out (it’s also easier to maintain).
Unfortunately, the victim inside of you doesn’t just leech from the outside, it also leeches from the inside. It’s your inner victim that is telling you “this isn’t good enough” when you should be creating something that can really help others. It’s also your inner victim that drives you to the fridge to stuff your face full of food when what you really need is to journal and work through your feelings on an issue that’s bothering you.
How to make the switch
There are as many ways of switching from a victim to a hero mindset as there are people. Get creative and turn it into a game! The only set rule I can give you is that it gets easier the more time you spend in your hero mindset. But initially it’s very, very hard, and you have to fight to stay aware of what state you’re in. It’s all worth it though.
I want you to get creative and find your own ways to channel your inner hero, but I won’t leave you hanging. Here are some tips that worked for me:
1. Write your victim and hero story
This is going to take a long time… to get yourself to do. It actually only takes 5-10 minutes to write once you’ve actually sat down and started doing it. If you’re procrastinating (like I did), take it as a sign of resistance, and follow Steven Pressfield‘s advice:
Don’t prepare. Begin.
– Do the work by Steven Pressfield
Don’t think about it. Don’t try to outline it ahead of time. Don’t twiddle your thumbs. Just sit down and start writing, and let the words flow, no matter how uncomfortable it might feel. As you go through the resistance it fades away and what emerges at the other end is pure honesty.
We are the hero of our own story. – Mary McCarthy
2. See challenges as an opportunity
Your hero doesn’t see the mountain in front of him as a terrible obstacle that will never allow him to pass through (boo-hoo). He sees it as a worthy opponent that he will bravely scale. He sees it as a friend who will teach him lessons he needs to learn in order to succeed in the future.
Choose your labels wisely – how you look at the challenges that come across your way is your choice, and your responsibility.
Tip: Watch your language. Instead of saying “I have to” say “I get to”.
3. Be true to yourself
Trust yourself and your instincts. Be true to yourself. Do whatever you want. Say what you mean, not what you believe people want to hear. Your sincerity is what people will value the most. This week, I read something on the subject that truly spoke to me. It basically said: don’t put your loved ones in charge of making you feel good about yourself.
Because you lack confidence in yourself, you’ll let the people around you direct your life if you’re always looking for reinforcement. And what happens when we don’t obtain the approval we’re looking for? We feel uncomfortable, even unhappy, and we tend to act accordingly, trying to adjust, instead of just listening to ourselves and doing what we really want to do. In short, we complicate our lives!
Finding and trusting ourselves is one of the most beautiful gifts we can give to ourselves and to others! I know, it is not necessarily easy. Maybe the next point will help!
4. Have patience
Accepting that transformation takes time is essential. Accept that it took you x number of years to get to where you are now, and that you won’t be able to fix everything in a year. Of course, we hear many joyful testimony of swift and abrupt changes (my own progress is fascinating! ), but the goal is to enjoy the road toward a fulfilling life rather than to achieve the ideal we aspire to.
“What do you wish you had learned earlier? That the most important thing is not where I am going, but how I am going to get there. My encounters, my trials, my lessons, the small daily steps, the small pleasures I experience.”
5. Surround yourself with supportive people
Change is difficult, therefore surround yourself with people who will encourage you to succeed and attain your objectives.
Avoid negative or toxic people: according to a well-known personal development theory, we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. You deserve to be surrounded by positive energy; it will lift you up!
It is not a long journey to change. There will be many challenges ahead, and you will need to be courageous to achieve your objectives. You will undoubtedly experience setbacks, but don’t let this deter you. You will emerge stronger, more confident, and more fulfilled, regardless of how long it takes.
6. Stay connected to your WHY
Every hero has a reason for doing what he’s doing. In fairy tales it’s a damsel in distress. In my world, it’s making a difference through my gifts and helping creative grasshopper use their many gifts instead of trying to “focus” and work in a way that doesn’t serve them.
Make it a point to always remind yourself of why you’re doing what you’re doing. Use experiences as “hooks” for this habit. For example, when you get writer’s block, focus on your why before giving up. You might just discover it’s the key that unlocks the room where all of your creativity and energy were hiding
Above all, remember – both of these people are always a part of you, and attaching “good” and “bad” labels to the victim and hero mentality can sometimes propel you even more in the direction of blaming yourself for being “bad” and being a victim. Imperfection is a gift, and embracing both sides of yourself is equally important as working hard to be your own hero is. Sometimes we all need to let the inner victim out a little bit – the key is to always know where it is and what it’s doing, so it can’t stomp all over your dreams.
I know how hard it is to just get started so I’m going to make it easy for you and ask you to take 5 minutes right now and write your victim and hero story. You can share it in the comments or just do it for yourself, but I’d love to know what you have learned from it.