Someone betrayed you in a relationship? Another person got the promotion that was rightfully yours?
It hurts. There is no denying the utter despair experienced when our expectations do not reflect our reality. But what can we do about it?
There are only two responses a person can have toward a situation: we can either play the role of the victim by remaining in the situation and allowing it to plant bitter, resentful seeds inside of us, or we can use the situation to empower us and propel us toward change.
It might seem impossible when we feel like our world is crumbling around us, but I promise it is not.
How can you feel empowered when you have had your heart broken?
Love is the greatest cause of victimhood. Nothing can make us feel less empowered faster than rejection or abandonment from someone we love. When we are in love, we feel the most empowered. It’s hard not to feel victimized when we thought we had met “the one,” but things did not turn out how we had expected. This is when self-love matters most.
So many of us stay in toxic situations, reliving our trauma like a prison sentence and hoping that time will erase the wound. We may even justify the actions of our lover in an attempt to lessen the hurt we feel. Perhaps this person didn’t mean to hurt me? Perhaps they were forced to make that decision, or they weren’t in their right mind? Maybe they didn’t technically cheat because our relationship wasn’t exclusive? The list goes on and on.
We are masters of protecting ourselves by justifying our pain. At the end of the day, none of the excuses matter. If the actions of another person hurt us and continue to hurt us after we have discussed the behavior with our significant other, we are allowing ourselves to have these experiences—we are choosing to have them over and over again.
Perhaps the deeper question here should be why we feel victimized. The actions of another, provided they are not putting us in unsafe situations, disrespecting our boundaries, or intentionally trying to cause harm, cannot affect us if we do not continue submitting ourselves to these situations.
For example, if we are seeking monogamy in a relationship, but our love interest is not and continues to see other people, then this is not a match. If that person’s seeing other people causes us to feel betrayed despite our knowing that our love interest did not want an exclusive relationship, we can evaluate our need for monogamy and whether it stems from a place of needing to feel secure. If so, this might be a wound that we need to heal within ourselves.
Genuine love uplifts each person. It does not try to control or restrict. It flows as a gentle balance between two people. Be mindful of what it is that you are asking of your partner. It is not your job to fix or change someone into who you want them to be, nor is it anyone’s job to save you and fix your wounds. By holding onto the belief that someone else will come and save you or make you feel more safe and secure, you will always be disappointed because you are placing your power in another’s hands.
How can you feel empowered when you are financially struggling?
Money is a constant stressor for so many of us. When we don’t have it, we stress about it; when we do have it, we stress about losing it.
Money can lead us to make choices that are not in alignment with who we are. We might take a certain job solely because we need financial security, or we might have to make sacrifices in our daily lives to assure we have a roof over our heads and food in our bowls.
Lack of money is a crippling fear for many. That fear rapidly forms part of our reality. If we feel we don’t have enough, we will never feel we have enough. The problem lies in our thought patterns much more than in our realities. Money is a flow of energy. It comes and goes. We cannot fully control it. However, we can control our relationship with it to empower our lives in incredible ways.
Some practical affirmations to adopt:
>> Instead of, “I don’t have enough money,” try, “I’m respecting my finances right now until things turn around.”
>> Instead of, “My job doesn’t pay enough,” try, “My job is a springboard for bigger and better opportunities to make money.”
>> Instead of, “My rent is too expensive,” try, “I’m grateful for my home right now. I know my finances will improve for me to live comfortably.”
How can you feel empowered when you’re not in perfect health?
There is nothing like a health scare to humble us into appreciating the gift of good health. With the high demands we put on ourselves daily, it is important that we take the time to check in with our minds and bodies and see how we are feeling.
Take due rest—without guilt—when your body is telling you to. Be mindful of what you consume and try to place healthy limitations on what you feed your body. Your body is your most loyal friend and you need it to work efficiently.
When you are sick or injured, take the time to recover. When you’re struggling with mental health, speak kindly to yourself. It is okay to need rest. It is okay to recuperate. No matter the health crisis you are facing, always try to respect where you are in the moment and maintain a positive outlook for your future.
Our thought patterns create our reality. When we feel victimized, it is easy to jump on that emotion and spiral downward. I’ve been on that express train southbound, and it’s not empowering. I hope that next time you feel like things are not going your way, you will pause and consider how many things might actually be going your way. One “bad situation” might just be a blessing in disguise.