The Victim Mentality

Years ago I had heard the term “victim mentality“ and I was curious as to what it meant. Imagine my surprise when I looked it up only to discover that this was me! Yikes! 😳

I certainly didn’t want to think of myself as a victim of anything, and so I set off in search of a way to change this dynamic within myself. I found out that the opposite of being a victim was being an empowered person, and that becoming empowered would require new choices from me.

I now consider myself a work in progress, continually moving toward greater personal empowerment (better choices). I take time every day to reflect on the choices I’ve made and what outcomes those choices have created in my life. If my choices leave me with a good feeling, I know that I have made an empowered choice. If my choices leave me with a crummy feeling I know I have fallen back into the victim mentality.

Just in case you aren’t familiar with the term “victim mentality” here is an explanation I like from Wikipedia.

                                                   What is it?

A victim mentality is an acquired personality trait in which a person tends to unconsciously see themselves as a victim of the negative actions of others, and then reacts in a way that confirms their perceived helplessness or powerlessness. In essence, being a victim is a way of: avoiding responsibility and criticism for one’s actions, circumstances and results in life, receiving attention and compassion, and evading one’s own feelings of genuine anger. It leads to people constantly being guided by negative emotions like fear, sadness and anger.

No one really consciously chooses to be a victim. It is more a way we fall into, and we fall into it  because (unconsciously), we lack a more effective strategy to deal with life. Being a victim provides a way of avoiding change, staying safe in one’s comfort zone, numbing oneself, not dealing with painful feelings, finding company, getting attention and sympathy, and avoiding being responsible for something in one’s life, for example, blaming others or complaining.

If you recognize yourself in this description and would like to change that pattern, I recommend a hefty dose of compassion and gentleness toward yourself. What might that look like? Here are just a few ideas:

A thought that says, “now that I recognize this, I’d like to change it“ 

Choosing to do something enjoyable

Asking yourself what kinds of things are important to YOU

Choosing not to criticize or judge yourself

Setting an intention to discover new ways to empower yourself

Taking the time to figure out what makes you happy

So how will you choose? Without judgment, you can continue with habitual choices that bring negativity or emotional pain, or you can experiment with a new choice that might offer you different information. You can’t get it wrong, and you can always choose again!

With love, Jackie

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Ever Find Yourself Caught Up In An Argument? 🤐

In the past, I used to find myself caught up in arguments. I never gave it a second thought.  I thought “everyone” argued from time to time and that this was normal. Since that time, this is what I have learned, it takes the participation of 2 people to argue. While that may seem obvious to you, it took me decades before this lightbulb went on in my brain. After I was lucky enough to realize that, I knew I could choose whether I was going to be one of the participants, or not. To my knowledge, one cannot argue by themselves. 

I decided it would be empowering, and a loving act toward myself, to withdraw my participation in arguments. That new choice felt great! If I was aware that an argument was starting I would say something like this; “I would be happy to discuss this with you at a later time when I am more calm“, “ Raising my voice doesn’t feel good, and for me, I don’t think it accomplishes anything”, “This is important to talk about, but now is not a good time for me, how about later or tomorrow?”

Wow! That turned out to be liberating! I felt free from one more negative pattern I had  repeatedly chosen in my life. It was one more way that I found to take good care of myself.

So…, what about you? Are there any negative situations you repeatedly find yourself in that you would love to be done with? Why not take a look at your own contribution to that situation and make a new choice? Why look at your contribution and not “theirs”? Because your choices are the only ones you have control over. Once we really get that, we begin to take full responsibility for our own choices and we can let go of the need to try and control the choices of others. We never can anyway, but we sure spend a lot of time and energy trying, don’t we?

With love, Jackie

Make A Difference Monday

I heard the sweetest and incredibly inspiring story on the radio Monday about a kindness received and later “paid forward”. The radio station said it was “make a difference Monday”, then they offered this heart warming story. It was from a mom who said that at one point in her life she didn’t have enough money for school supplies for her elementary school daughter. She felt bad about sending her daughter to school without the proper supplies, but she was worried about putting food on the table. She tried to salvage all she could from last year‘s school supplies. She ended up with a tattered but repaired folder and 2 pencils. On the morning of the first day of school, as they open their door to leave the house something magical happened. There was a box of new school supplies on their doorstep with everything her daughter needed!

Now that this mom is financially stable, on the first day of school she follows her daughter into school with enough supplies for another 10 to 15 students and gift cards for the teachers! She still does not know who left the badly needed and greatly appreciated school supplies. 

She noted how this one act of kindness years ago, continues to touch many lives beyond their own, teachers, other students and now a radio station’s listening audience. It is the ripple effect of kindness. May it never end……….🙏🏻

With love, Jackie

A Lesson At The Gas Pump

A couple of years ago two men were arguing at the Costco gas pump, about 3 feet away from me, because one man had supposedly cut in front of the other. There were raised voices and threats which made me feel physically unsafe. I asked myself, “instead of feeling vulnerable, what can I do now to improve the situation for myself”? I decided that I would not be perceived as a threat so I went over and stood between them. I gently suggested that what occurred was not worth fighting over and what would result from that. My choice left me feeling better, my heart was peaceful.

Why did I choose the action that I did? It was because I felt compassion for these two angry young men. I knew that anger of this magnitude for a “small” event came from the past in each of them, where they had been harmed. I realize this particular situation is an unusual and rare occurrence but I use it to illustrate that….

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”  -Wayne Dyer

I changed the way I looked at these men who were acting aggressively toward one another, and then my choice changed. Instead of judging them as making a poor decision or as “immature”, I chose to look at what was behind their behavior. It was my choice. My choice came from years of attempting to cultivate compassion in many smaller arenas. Then, when I needed it for a larger issue, it was there for me to use without hesitation. For this I am extremely grateful because this is not the way it used to be.

In the past, compassion was never my first choice, judgement was. A constant diatribe of (negative) judgement was going on in my head aimed at myself as well as others. I didn’t know I could change it. I never asked myself if I wanted to change it. And even if I would have wanted to change it, I didn’t know how. I didn’t have the tools. But I do now, and learning to use them leaves me feeling calm, gives me an increasing sense of freedom and opens my heart. Instead of the old “sign on my heart” which read “All who come near will be judged“, the sign now reads, “All are welcome and accepted without judgement.”

As I write this I cannot help but shake my head in wonder at the shifts that have taken place inside of me. If there is some type of change you are wanting, you can have it too. It happens as a result of your desire, your invitation to change your heart. Then allow life to gently guide you, put your focus there and watch what happens!

With love, Jackie

I’ll Feel Better When………

One of the things I recommend as I work with clients desiring permanent weight loss is a steady diet of kindness toward ourselves. In this blog I wanted to share one idea for treating yourself with added kindness.

Let go of the thought that you will feel better when your conditions change. Your well-being won’t be found in some future time or occurrence as conditions are continually changing. One thing you can do NOW is to guide your thoughts toward something that feels better to you at this moment.  Every time you make that choice you empower yourself. When you wait for conditions to change to feel better, you disempower yourself. Here is a question that can help you begin to guide your thoughts, “what is the kindest choice I can make toward myself right now?” What would your answer be, now?

With love, Jackie

Delicious Kale Smoothie Recipie!

A client of mine sent me a smoothie recipe from Kris Carr. I have adapted that recipe to be higher in fiber and lower in carbs for my own purposes. It is packed with good nutrients and tastes great. I find this smoothie to be a great hunger killer mid afternoon. It can also be a quick substitute for any meal. Should you find yourself hungry in the evening, just cut the amount of avocado and raspberries in half and skip the honey or agave, or substitute it with a tiny bit of artificial sweetener. It takes about 10 minutes to make and that includes cleaning up!

INGREDIENTS

1 CUP FRESH SPINACH OR CURLEY LEAF KALE (I find curly leaf kale tastes better than the other types, but any type is fine)

1 CUP FRESH OR FROZEN RASPBERRIES

1 CUP UNSWEETENED ALMOND MILK

1/4-1/2 AVOCADO (ALTERNATIVE-1-2 TBSP UNSWEETENED PEANUT BUTTER)

JUICE FROM 1/2 FRESH LEMON (ALTERNATIVE-1 TBSP LEMON JUICE)

1-3 TSP AGAVE, HONEY OR STEVIA

1/2-1 CUP COLD WATER

1 CUP ICE (OPTIONAL-ADDS THICKNESS & VOLUME)

Put it all in a blender except for the ice, and blend until well mixed. Add ice and blend until smooth. I put it in a giant glass and it looks like a milkshake. YUM! (From my personal experience, the lemon and a little bit of sweetener are critical to the “deliciousness” of this smoothie)

*Approximate nutritional information- Calories– 250, Carbohydrates–24 g, Protein–4 g, Fat–12.5 g, Fiber–14 g

With Love, Jackie

Do You Feel Powerless Over Your “Addiction“?

Disclaimer: I am not an expert in addiction medicine. I’m a registered nurse that has been working in the field of permanent weight loss for the last six years. The work I do now is the result of my own personal experience. I was addicted to food, and as a result, I was overweight since my teens. For decades, with temporary success, I had tried everything I knew to try to turn my weight issue around but I was unsuccessful. I felt trapped and depressed. In my late 40s and early 50s I finally figured out a permanent and peaceful way to lose and maintain a healthy weight. I found a way out of my addiction to food.

Having a more fit and slender body was certainly wonderful, just as I thought it would be, but one other thing I lost was just as meaningful and I had no idea it even existed. This may sound dramatic but it is truly the way I felt. Being released from the compulsion to eat was just as remarkable as finally being at a healthy weight. I had previously felt enslaved to a food habit that I was unable to break for decades. The word “enslaved” is aptly defined as losing your freedom of choice. I mean really, would I ever have freely chosen to be overweight?

So now, I find myself wanting very much to help others who are struggling. Below is a powerful little practice that I would offer to anyone who is addicted as I was.

When a craving hits

-Stop for a moment

-Put your full attention on the feeling the craving is creating in your body. 

            -Where do you feel it? 

            -What does it feel like? (Details please)

-Take two or three deep breath‘s while allowing yourself to feel the powerful pull of the craving

-Observe the craving and its power over you

-Go ahead and make your choice without judgment or criticism. You may choose the object of your addiction or you may chose differently, but you will now be choosing consciously. 

-How does that feel?

-Repeat as needed whenever the craving returns

It is your conscious choice that can begin to turn things around. You are taking your power back no matter how small, and that is what matters.

It is my heartfelt wish for you to live a life full of love in all of its forms, i.e. fun, friendships, abundance, kindness etc… This was not possible for me as long as I was dealing with an addiction. You are a worthy and lovable human being. How do you want to live your life, trapped or free?

With love, Jackie

Anyday Wisdom

It is not always possible to change our situation (quickly) once we realize we would like it to change. Our job is to create an improved feeling NOW by changing our thoughts to something that feels better. Any thought that feels better will do, even if it isn’t related to the current situation. Just look around  in your physical surroundings or in your mind for something that you like or something that makes you smile and put your focus on that. That is how we create well-being. That is how we offer support to ourself. That is how we treat ourself with kindness and compassion!

With love, Jackie

Anxiety Equals Not Feeling Safe

From an evolutionary point of view, we are born into this world vulnerable and completely dependent upon others to keep us safe and to provide for all of our survival needs. As we grow up, we begin to learn how to do these things for ourselves. And as adults, we may or may not have acquired the tools we need to keep ourselves feeling safe and to care for ourselves.

Most of us have not been given all the tools we need or the right tools for us. This is not because anyone withheld these tools from us. It is because they did not have them to give. Whatever the situation we find ourselves in, if we are experiencing anxiety, it is a “red flag” showing us that we do not have the tools in this area to create our own feeling of emotional safety. Anxiety is a normal human emotion to be accepted without judgment or criticism, like all emotions.

If we would like to be able to create our own feeling of emotional safety inside of ourselves, we need to acquire new tools. That is because whatever we are doing now is not bringing us the feeling we desire, which is usually something like calmness or peace of mind.

So, how might we acquire these new tools if we want them? There are many wonderful books written (or audiobook versions) regarding personal development, there are podcasts, YouTube videos, and there are people like me who teach them and more…

There is also a private and personal way for you to begin to do this on your own. That of course would entail something I talk about in almost every blog I write, making a new choice. The idea is to experiment with making a new choice in an area of your life that is causing you anxiety and see how you feel about the outcome of that new choice. If you like the new outcome resulting from your new choice, you may want to repeat it. If you don’t like the outcome, because it increases or doesn’t help with the anxiety you are experiencing, it is not the right choice for you. This moment may be looked at as your opportunity to rehearse in your mind what new choice you might want to make before the situation presents itself again. I can guarantee your “next time” is coming in some way.

This “trial and error” method will spark your personal development and get you moving in your own “best” direction. Once you set an intention to learn YOUR healthiest way to deal with any anxiety that comes your way, (and as you continue to take steps toward changing it) life will support you in new and unexpected ways.

In the meantime, just being aware of and changing your choice when you are feeling anxious will give you information that will help you make your next decision. It can be a new choice in how you perceive the situation or the things you tell yourself once the situation has presented itself. With your underlying intention to do something different this time, you take your first tiny step into a new, more loving place for your mind and soul to rest. Don’t we all deserve that?
I know we do.

With love, Jackie

Run Around In Circles Or Make A Different Choice? 🤷🏻‍♀️ 🤷🏻‍♂️

If there is an area of your life where you are not feeling comfortable or that is not going well, here are just a few questions for your own gentle consideration.

What do I want? (My friend Lynne’s powerful question)
Am I willing to see this differently?
Am I willing to consider the possibility that there could be another possibility, even if I don’t know what it is right now?
What is the smallest, kindest thing I can do to take loving care of myself right now?

“Until we make a choice to do “it” differently, we will continue to go around in circles.”
-Marianne Williamson

My translation of the above quote is: Unless and until we make a new choice, in an area of our lives that is causing us pain or discomfort, we will continue to create the same outcome, an outcome we don’t want.

I did this. For decades I created the same painful outcomes I didn’t like in many areas of my life. Why did I do this? It happened because I didn’t make the connection between my choices and their results or consequences. At the time, I didn’t have the awareness or tools to do it differently. I do now and instead of my choices causing me more emotional pain, they now bring me more peace. This doesn’t mean I don’t experience emotional pain in my life, I do. The difference is I have learned how to recognize and respond to the pain so that I can get back to feeling peaceful. You can too if you want to. Begin to look at the things that are causing you pain or discomfort and make a new choice (preferably chosen in kindness toward yourself). It doesn’t need to be the “right” choice, or the “perfect” choice, any new choice will do.

With love, Jackie