How to be a survivor, not a victim

How to be a survivor, not a victim

Resilience Centre

How to be a survivor, not a victim

We all experience hardship at times, whether it’s illness, accidents, abuse, or poverty, to name but a few. Physically and mentally these can have devastating effects. How we deal with these setbacks and bounce back from them determine how we shape our future.

You may consider yourself a victim of your personal circumstances or unpleasant experiences, think that others are responsible for what happens to you or feel that you are unlucky and that life is unfair. However, by going through these same experiences you can also develop a survivor mentality to learn from them and handle future problems so that they do not negatively affect you. A survivor makes a conscious decision to handle problems, does not waste time complaining, accepts responsibility and takes action to obtain the best possible outcome. In other words, a survivor has developed coping skills.

Characteristics of a survivor

  • Resilience – prevents depression and anxiety, increases confidence
  • Perseverance – never give up
  • Learn from past and unpleasant experiences
  • Expect that things will work out well
  • See things from different points of view and consider different options
  • Make the decision to recover or survive
  • Find support and ask for help
  • Maintain a sense of humour and remember to still have fun
  • Overcome guilt
  • Remember it’s all going to be OK – handle the change.

A victim is someone who expects things to turn out a certain way according to what they want or what they believe they deserve. Survivors, on the other hand, will put aside expectations and adapt to the situation, shaping a better outcome for themselves.

You can’t change what happened to you in the past and what the future may hold, but you can decide how you will react to it and how you want your life to be from now on. Once you make the decision to recover, you decide to go from a position of weakness (victim) to a position of strength (survivor). You too have the power to change your life and become a survivor.