When you think about yourself and your life, do you feel empowered or sad? Do you feel like you can face whatever it is life throws at you, or are you fearful of what could go wrong? Life is 50/50. Half of it is great and half is terrible. If your brain automatically focuses on the negative, it’s possible you have a story from your past that is influencing this.
In this episode I would like to invite you explore it with me.
I walk you through a process of self examination. If you decide to embark on this journey, make sure to make a deal with yourself to stop exploring when your mind needs a break.
Hi everyone, this is Ewelina life coach for immigrants and today we are gonna bite a big and a bit triggering subject. We are gonna talk about how sometimes we fall into the “poor me” attitude. Have you ever done that? HMM? If you have any self awareness at all you’d agree with me that “Yes, that does happen.” Sometimes we feel sorry for ourselves. I whine. You whine. We all whine. Sometimes we do. Not all the time but sometimes we do. And today we are gonna talk about that whining. How it’s okay for a bit but if you make it a daily practice… your life is gonna feel pretty bad. Yeah so let me ask you a quick question.
Do you feel sometimes like a victim of your life?
Are you a victim sometimes? Are you? Yeah you are. Well some of you might wanna be like: No I am not. I am definitely not a victim. Oh yes, even you my friend, even you… even if you have been working so hard to take control of all aspects of your life… even if you are still a victim… maybe less than ever before but still… In some ways for sure. Why am I so certain? How do I know this? Because we all have a victim archetype within us, we need it. It tells us when we have been abused and what needs to be adjusted. Interestingly enough this archetype helps us develop our self esteem. We do that by doing the opposite of what you’d expect from someone who plays the victim…by acting with courage, endurance, honesty, integrity and self respect. So if you are like: NO, I am not a victim. It could be that you feel so strongly about it because you have been working hard to develop that inner strength, courage, honesty, integrity and self respect. And that’s okay, that’s awesome. But please consider that the victim archetype is the exact reason why you felt the need to do so. Now, just like any archetype, the victim has a positive and a negative aspect. The negative aspect of victim archetype happens when we are playing a victim to get positive feedback from others and then we swim in self pity. In other words if your friend is paying more attention to you when you start whining about your boyfriend, when you make it sound like an emergency situation, even if it’s not, it’s just Tuesday and he once again didn’t text you back… If you make it sound like it’s a big deal, and she falls for it and listens to you for hours whining about it… as you are spinning in the whole: “Oh he is such a terrible communicator, I can never tell what his behavior means when he doesn’t text me back. I am sure he is bored with me. He is probably on Match.com looking for someone new”… and you go on and on and on, this would be the negative aspect of the victim… when you are using the victim to get the attention of others and when you get it, it validates your hurt feelings and you stay in the same spot, feeling sorry for yourself… Listen, this is normal okay? Happens to the best of us, it’s a human behavior. I am not recording this to make you feel bad about yourself because sometimes you fall into this like whiny mood. That’s not what this is… I am just suggesting, that we all have this, and it’s good to know when we step into the victim archetype and what areas of life we tend to do this in.
So, my dear immigrant friend, I have another question for you: Do you think you should be happy? Life should be easy? You kind of feel entitled to happiness? Like you should be happy just like everyone else is happy. It’s just enough to look through social media accounts. Everyone is happy! Now, since you are an immigrant and your life has been hard and it still is hard and you are not happy but everyone else is, you might feel bad for yourself… sometimes that shows up in our minds like this:
If I grew up in America and I had the same opportunities like everyone else I would be more confident and I would be so much further in life.
If my boss didn’t dislike immigrants I would’ve gotten that promotion. Then I would feel accomplished and I would be happy and my parents would be finally proud of me.
If my ex didn’t leave me, everything would’ve been so much easier and I wouldn’t have to struggle. I am a poor immigrant, my life is hard enough.
If I could use my degree in this country I would be so much more successful by now. You know what? This was my sentence. I used this one a lot before I came to terms with a fact that my masters degree does not mean much in the US.
Here is another thought for you:
If I would’ve been able to work outside of home I would speak better English and I would’ve had a better job by now, made more money and be happier.
If I didn’t live so far away from my family, they would’ve helped me raise my kids. I am all alone here and my sister gets all the help she needs… and I have so much work, it’s not fair!
I will never be taken seriously. I am a poor immigrant, a weirdo. These people will never understand me. If Americans weren’t so ignorant they would treat me better.
Americans are fake, they are only nice to me when they need me. No one really respects me.
These are some interesting sentences, right? I wonder how many of them sound familiar to you? Does it sound like your brain a little bit? Does your brain hop on this familiar old tune?
You know what all these sentences have in common? Thinking these kinds of thoughts leaves us feeling powerless and stuck.And what do most of us do next? We take it to the next level. We expand on this negative story… and then we repeat it and it becomes our truth. The more we think this, the more we believe it. This little story we are telling ourselves, starts deeply influencing how we see ourselves, how we see others and what we do…
We become sour and this attitude spreads.
Someone shares a new idea? New solution? Not good enough, it’s not gonna work. Things like that don’t work out, ever. Got a new neighbor? Oh for sure a fake one. Oh it’s an American, fake one for sure… just wait, she will come here, say Hi and will pretend to be nice but as soon as she sees that I am an immigrant, she will change her behavior and she will not want to be friends. Oh a friend recommended a natural supplement for my knee problem? She is not genuine! She just wants my money. Everyone just wants my money.
I know that you know a person in your life who is like that. Who is just so negative. I don’t know their story, but I do know that often it is the victim who has been heavily activated in the past but has not completed the cycle. Because in a full cycle we move from a victim to a hero, to a victor. Here someone simply gets stuck in the victim mode.
I’ve chosen this subject my friends, for a few reasons. First of all we are immigrants, and this life path comes with many additional struggles, right? Leaving the country of origin, living far away from your loved ones, starting a brand new life in a completely unfamiliar place, struggling with adjusting to culture, language, being deeply dependent on help from others, when we are not used to asking for help. That would temper your ego, right? When you actually have to ask for help because you realize you won’t be able to do something on your own… So the first reason, why I am recording this is that, yeah, we immigrants face struggles and sometimes when we face a lot of struggles we have a tendency to whine, to complain and become a victim of our circumstances.
You know, another reason, why I’ve decided to talk about this, is that many people struggle getting out of this archetype. We fall into it and we can not get out. When life hits us hard we have a tendency to focus on the hurt and not the strength that grew from the struggle. And if we allow for the victim to be the main voice running the mental show in our heads, its influence will spread. And that is not a great dynamic to have happening inside of your mind, because you start looking for evidence that other people are trying to hurt you, that they have ill intent only , and no one is your friend, and everyone is hard to get along with, everyone is hard to trust. So you prefer spending time alone, or with just a few people whom you trust but still, you are very cautious, and it could be that eventually even that small circle will get smaller.
And this is when our life itself becomes smaller. When we stop contributing, because we believe that since other people only want to use us, and we don’t want to be used, we are withdrawing our energy and we are in a way protecting ourselves. But if we are not careful, we take it to an extreme, when we completely stop contributing, providing value… being helpful. We just do the minimum. At work, at home, with friends, with family… and as a result of that our life becomes small, insignificant. We stop ourselves from growing, we dim our own light. Well, who benefits from this, tell me? No one. Not one person benefits from us hiding, pretending that what we were created for does not matter. It matters and you know what? It will definitely matter when we will be laying on our deathbed looking back, introspecting.
So, what price do you pay for entertaining the victim story and dwelling in self pity? If you are doing this, you are paying with the quality of your life, quality of your relationships, your days. This kind of thinking is literally killing your dreams. The energy that could’ve been used to create something really incredible in your life, is being spent on creating and expanding the negative aspects of your situation. Do not refuse to create change within yourself. The price is just too high.
The self pity story is not helpful and as long as you sit in it for days, or months, or years… my dear friend, you are doing yourself a huge disservice. You are in circumstances you don’t deserve, you feel powerless and you are hoping for someone to save you, right? But can someone really save you? No. It might feel like that sometimes, right? Others might come, lift you up temporarily but as long as you hold on to that precious: “Why is my life so hard and everyone else has it easy? If you are holding on to this belief, your life will be hard again and again and again.
And you know what? No one can change it but you. Why? Because no one can get inside of your head and create a mental shift for you. That is your job. So let’s talk about it, what is a mental shift I am talking about here? I am talking about taking personal responsibility for your reaction to what is or what was.
Now, some of you went through deep traumatic events. This is not what we are addressing here. If you have had something very difficult happen in your past, go see a therapist. Go talk to someone who will listen to your story, who will validate it for you. who will be kind, understanding and loving. Give yourself time to work through this trauma. You do deserve to live a good, healthy life. But when that work is done… move on. Okay? Now for those of you who have not had a trauma but as you are listening to me you recognize that there are some areas of your life you have given up on yourself in, you might wanna take a closer look, create more self awareness, see if you can create that mental shift I was talking about earlier.
So how do we do that? How do we take responsibility? We have got to look at our minds. We look at the story we are telling ourselves. So we take a piece of paper, maybe a journal if you have one and you are gonna answer a few simple questions, to stimulate that story. So first of all: When was I in deep emotional pain in my life? What hit me hard? Who did it? Why?
I am gonna put these questions in the description of this show so you have them there, so you don’t have to write it down. I know that many of you listen to this podcast when you are driving or just going on a walk, whatever you are doing… Look into the description of this show if you would like to do this work.
So you ask yourself these questions right? You answer them and you have the story. Read it to yourself and check in: How do you feel after you read it? Do you feel uplifted or do you feel sad, depressed, frustrated, maybe angry? This part is important. Because thoughts create feelings, and feelings cause action or lack of action. Sometimes if you fall into a self pity mode you might just want to sit in it and not do much. Because, when you think of that story you feel depressed, maybe it overwhelms you. So you want to pay attention to what that feeling is. You really wanna plug it into your mind, and then check in with your body. What is the feeling? So what is the next step in this process? We look at our story and then we analyze it, okay? We are gonna be asking a few different questions. And again I am gonna put them in the description of this show, that’s where you will find them.
So first question is this:
Whom am I blaming for this?
Where am I refusing to take responsibility?
Am I trying to make others feel guilty and responsible for my problems?
Am I playing a martyr here? Have I been putting myself in harm’s way to make myself vulnerable so that others elicit sympathy and support me?
What is missing in my life? How much time do I spend thinking about it?
Where am I looking for sympathy?
How am I dodging responsibility?
Am I holding grudges?
Victims connect with victimized, who in my life is also in a victim mentality?
Is my story really true? Am I exaggerating it?
Am I really fighting demons or am I paying consequences of my actions?
So that’s a lot of questions,right? But then, after this part is done, then we are going to look for the meaning. The meaning of this whole event.
Next you will want to Look for the meaning. What was that for?
So these are the next questions you would be asking yourself. What was that for? Why did it happen like this? What do I need right now? What would I need to hear to heal and move on?
I gave you a lot of questions and I am not gonna lie. This is often difficult work. This is not light lifting, this is heavy lifting, okay? And there is a reason why we avoid it. Because it’s uncomfortable. And yet since it is difficult we want to do two things when we are doing this work, okay? One we want to be honest with ourselves because with honesty we give ourselves a chance to really look at the truth. And two, we want to be patient with ourselves.
Do not expect that you will move through these questions in one sitting. It might take you a few days, a few weeks even. It’s okay. It’s normal. This is to be expected. Nothing has gone wrong if you are just feeling like it’s too much and you gotta process it. Everytime you answer a question you will be creating more self awareness and that in itself will be changing you. You will be expanding. It might feel uncomfortable and you might want to quit. So that’s okay, if you feel like quitting, that’s when you quit, but then you come back to it. So you make a deal with yourself that it is okay to walk away from it, but it’s not okay to stop this work completely. So expect it to take longer but keep on coming back. Work with yourself to get to the other side of it, because as a result of this work you might start questioning your own behavior, asking: Why was I holding onto this for so long?
Maybe so you could really see what happens when you cling to one version of the story? When you don’t question your brain? When that black and white thinking takes over and gives you a sense of certainty and security because the story made sense… right? You didn’t have to think about it a lot. So it was also giving you a sense of certainty… and certainty feels good… but the price you might have been paying could have been frustration, bitterness and maybe even anger. Maybe you needed to feel frustrated for years to realize that it is you who is creating it?
And now that you know, you see that it could be possible to give yourself different options.
Because yes there was pain, but you, you my dear, you’ve survived it. You made it through. Inside of your victim is a victor. So who is it? What did he or she learn? What quality did he or she had to develop to continue living? Was it determination? Was it looking deep inside of yourself for strength to get up when you really just wanted to stay in bed all day? But you didn’t have a choice?
Remember self blame leads to self shame, this keeps you stuck in a toxic cycle. So this exercise I am giving you is not for self shaming purposes. This is why I am asking you if you start this process, continue on, do not give up on yourself because at one point if you stop your brain may take it as a: “Ooo you know, I should’ve done this differently, and then you start shaming yourself. No. No, no, no. Continue on with the process. This is for you to move through the areas you are giving up your responsibility in, to look at yourself honestly and eventually if you feel it’s best for you, make a decision about what you actually want to be thinking about it… about that story, about yourself in it, about other people in it. Now, when looking at yourself can you see the victor in it, the victor in yourself? Who is it? How is this part of you strong? How did you work through this problem? What skills did you have to develop to improve your position? What skills can you keep on developing?
Life is hard for everyone. But you are in control of your life, because you can be in control of your mind. Of mind that is interpreting the difficulties and the opportunities. So you can see these difficulties as opportunities or you can see them as huge roadblocks. You can keep on going or you can stop and sit down and just decide to keep on sitting. Now, when a person sees himself as the victim, then he or she is not to blame; someone else is to blame. The road block is to blame. But when you see yourself as a victor you are gonna feel self confident and you are gonna feel successful. You are gonna welcome challenges because you will believe in yourself, that with hard work you can overcome whatever it is that is standing in your way.
Listen, as an immigrant you have faced a lot of struggles. You’ve done this already. and I believe that because of that, you, especially you deserve to live a life as a victor. Enjoying your American dream. Creating it on purpose and feeling so lucky that this is your life. And you get to live it.
No, listen, if you need my help with creating that amazing life for yourself, reach out to me. I help immigrants from Europe create their American dream. Life that feels so good, when you wake up in the morning, you are excited to be alive. Doesn’t that sound good? I know it does. So if you’d like some help creating that for yourself, reach out to me. And remember I am a life coach for immigrants but I am also considered a general life coach. What does that mean? It means that I can help you with many different issues: relationship issues, boundaries, self confidence, overwhelm, time management, mindset around money, adjusting your self concept, and much much more. And remember that you can schedule a free consultation at lifecoachforimmigrants.com. In that consultation, you are gonna tell me what the problem is, how you have tried addressing it. What worked and what didn’t and then if I can help you, I will tell you how. This is completely complimentary, and I would love to meet my listeners, so if you are listening to me make sure to schedule that complimentary consultation, I would love to meet you. Listen, even if you don’t end up hiring you will walk away with a deeper sense of self awareness. Deeper clarity… and that my friend is absolutely priceless. Alright, this is it for today! Thank you so much for listening, if you enjoyed it, if you learned something new, please leave a review. Share this podcast with your immigrant friends. It will help me get this podcast, this episode more visible and more immigrants will get the help they need. Thanks for listening I will talk to you next time.