Recently, I was given a self-compassion request for feeling victimized by someone else or more pointedly, how to let go of the self-critical feelings following a victimization. Let’s start with the word, “victim.” Most people, who hear this word have an involuntary cringing response. Who amongst us has not been a victim of theft, car vandalism, a car accident, unkind words, or bad behavior at work? What might surprise you is that it is not being victimized, but being completely unable to tolerate being a victim that prevents us from being able to let go of these experiences.
We prefer to thing of ourselves as unassailable or invulnerable. Others may try to harm us, but we just laugh these efforts off because we are so tough. We avoid victimhood because victims are weak and pathetic. Of course, we are a victim of all of this propaganda, and because we are unable to be at home with the fact that we are vulnerable to being harmed, and responsive to such harm in human ways, we extend the harm. We avoid it. We deny it. We puff out our chests, and dare it to return. But, some part deep inside of us has been hurt, and does not need to be told to shake it off. It needs to be told that its feelings are valid, and can be processed as such.
The Card House Delusion
You see, most of us suffer from card house delusion. Somewhere, we have decided that our resolve has the strength of a fragile card house, so we seek to protect it with our words, with our thoughts, and with our behaviors. We not only deny our suffering to the public. We deny it to ourselves. Unfortunately, pain neither cares about your moral stand or your convictions about yourself, it just hurts, and hurt can only be healed with balm. In this case, that balm is self-compassion.
We need to redefine toughness. Toughness must be the ability to be present to, process, and bring kindness to difficult experience because this serum actually leads to a meaningful, heart-directed life. When we define toughness as invulnerability (which is not actually a real thing), we are compelling our bodies to deny painful experiences. While the mind may find this rewarding, the body does not. It still feels pain. It cannot be assuaged by the lies in which the mind finds comfort. There is also wisdom in facing pain. It makes us less afraid of it, and we are more likely to process it with greater ease in the future, and see it less in our lives.
The Lesson Of Mastery
We all, in some sense or another, are dedicated to a sort of mastery and sense of empowerment. It is why we love superhero movies or films about underdogs. They all start out very human, but then find ways to overcome and master difficult areas of their lives. When we deny certain areas of our lives, they become un-mastered, and in some way we are drawn back to them in search of this mastery. So, instead of rarely facing victimization by pretending it is not happening, we begin to face it much more often because avoiding it only leads us to search it out later with the hopes of finding mastery.
Easy Self-Compassion Steps To Notice And Let Go Of Victimization When It Arises
So, we need a way to honor our experience. Instead of avoiding this victimization or representing it as something that reflects strength, acknowledge the experience. Name it. This is victimization. Notice how you have come by this experience naturally. I have not chosen this experience, but it happened anyway. If I were able to deal with it differently, then I would have. Give yourself permission to be hurt or disappointed by this experiencing. Being victimized is painful. Then give yourself kindness. Because I have been victimized, I am deserving of kindness and compassion.
At this point, you will have the epiphany that you have, indeed, survived this experience, and are capable of managing it, and moving on with your life. A moment of victimization does not make you a victim for life. It makes you human. And, processing it with kindness reminds all parts of you that they are deserving of love, appreciation, and kindness no matter what is done to them. This sense of compassion allows us to let go of this victimization faster, and return to the things that we find meaningful, and bring us well-being. That is true empowerment.
365 Days Of Self-Compassion. Day 209. In The Books.