Negative Mindset


Even the most positive, ambitious, and can-do people, can have a period where they feel some kind of emotional drowning in negativity. Some people encounter depression, can be overwhelmed, or discouraged more frequently during this time of a negative mindset. When this happens, it often activates a “victim” mentality. During these periods, they can feel defensive because no one wants to be a victim.

Victims are typically powerless over their situation and feel negatively impacted and oppressed by people or things happening outside of their control, which they feel is unfair and sets them up to fail. It shows up in the way they speak and the perspective they hold in their interactions throughout the day. It can be discouraging and difficult to “rise above” and often they end up “staying below” the line of the healthy, positive energy and mindset.

During my over 20 years of coaching, I have noticed that the clients who are making progress in their goals are NOT in victim mode. They are in a “can-do”, open, problem-solving, non-defensive, and unattached learning mode.  Alternatively, when clients, no matter how hard they work, are NOT making meaningful progress, they often are stuck in the victim mentality. They struggle to not be defensive, find excuses for gaps, have reasons things will not work, immediately shoot new ideas down, and are tired of learning. While they may feel like they are doing their best and trying everything possible, they are doing it in a negative mode which clouds their perspective.

While most would not call it true victim mentality, they often might feel the victim about interactions or different experiences.  Examples of this might be because they feel oppressed by a personal condition such as ADHD, frustrated at the way an organization is run or led, or feel like the world is somehow against them. This feeling is anything that takes away their personal power and causes them to feel stuck in a situation they can’t fix. It becomes the reason all good efforts are thwarted and sabotaged. They struggle to take responsibility and make steps towards getting different results because what they are doing isn’t wrong, but the desired change still feels out of their control.  Taking responsibility to do something different is hard to do when in victim mode because as a victim, I am not responsible.  This can create a vicious cycle.

So, how do I change my negative mindset?

  1. REALIZE. Realize when we are in this victim mode. In this mode, we lose flow, momentum, energy, and joy.  Being self-aware enough to recognize the signs of negativity and blame will start you down the path to recovery.
  2. SURRENDER. Really, we are not in control, but we want to be. The realization that we are not in control can cause us more pain but recognizing and accepting it is the first step to resolution.  We bind ourselves when we fight this reality because we are struggling to reconcile and accept what is beyond our personal power. We tend to feel calmer when we feel like we are in control of ourselves, circumstances, etc. When we wrestle to come to terms that we really are not in control and fight this reality trying to control, we stay in a losing power struggle within ourselves. In contrast, when we realize, accept, and surrender, we can disengage from the struggle.
  3. ACCESS Power Within.  This is not about POWER OVER. It is about a POWER FROM WITHIN.  It is where we are self-directed, clear, calm, and in control.  Unlike when we feel powerless during the victim mentality, our power within can help us overcome our negative emotions and help us focus and solve problems. When we focus on being present, being our best self, adding value, using our talents to be of service, selfless, humble, learning, and seeking to accept what we do not understand, we are able to return to greater flow and peace.   In a gentle way, this is extremely self-empowering and takes us out of the limbic emotional brain and back to our prefrontal lobe where we can think more rationally, calmly, and clearly.  As a result, we have a more natural and sage perspective.

This transition can come from many inner beliefs.  For some of us, it is a type of greater spiritual issue that directly impacts our work and lives. Reflecting on the amazing gifts and talents we have each been given, enables us to shape our purpose to be in service of others rather than the world being in service of us.

When we feel the negative mindset, it is real and a good time to step back and ask a few questions:

  • What am I attached to?
  • What am I resisting or fighting?
  • What do I need to let go of?
  • How can I be in service of others and be a light today?

A common mantra used to evaluate how we are dealing with all that the world is throwing at us is:

“God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

This simple saying may be just enough to reevaluate how we view our world and move us from a victim mindset to operate in a more positive light.  Ultimately it is a shift from a challenging outer circumstance that affects our internal going south (negative) versus starting from a sage internal perspective to affect our external perspective of our circumstances staying north (positive).  Wishing you the best and reflect and apply! It is worth the effort!