People are competitive in nature, put simply we like to win. So what happens when we have experienced wrong doing at the will of others? The natural inclination is to retaliate and when retaliation is not feasible, people have a bad habit of playing the role of the victim and complaining almost endlessly.
Fundamentally the brain is wired to help the body survive, but mere surviving does nothing to bring about happiness. Happiness comes from a genuine sense of thriving. Let’s say you were raised by emotionally and physically abusive parents, which led you to become wired towards being on the look out for emotional and abusive people. It then becomes highly probable that you will become so accustomed to abusive people that the story of your life would be about transitioning out of one abusive relationship and unintentionally towards another.
Contrary to what some may believe, we don’t have to remain victims of our past, we can learn to thrive past surviving. So how does anyone make the transition from surviving to thriving? Such a transition involves exploring your current patterns of beliefs and changing them to beliefs that are more meaningful and purposeful to you.
For example, if you were to hyper focus on your mistreatment by others, in the past and present, without realizing so, you would have bought into the belief that no one should mistreat you. At first glance this belief would not seem out of place, but imagine if the following where your life’s motto;
“No one ever should mistreat me, ever! My motto in life is that any and everyone who I encounter should be courteous to me. In the event they are not, I will make it my mission that they right their wrong or be properly shamed.”
This is what the motto of negative people sounds like, rather pathetic. Negative people tend to focus on things that have gone wrong in their lives, be it with people, places and things. Grieving is important, but it should not be the focus of your existence. Regardless of what you have experienced, your experiences with negativity would pale in comparison to a sense of meaning and purpose you have ascribed to your life.
When we create meaning and purpose in our lives, we tend to look for and create positive experiences in our lives. These positive experiences help us transition through negative experiences. So if you have personal relationships you cherish, encounters with others who reject you would become insignificant. Furthermore, your focus on yourself and with your relationships with others would be more focused on the positive experiences you seek and create for yourself.
Ugo is a psychotherapist and life coach.