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Do You Choose Victim or Warrior?

by jenny sansouci on July 30, 2012

I spent the weekend at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health for my friend Gabby Bernstein‘s “Expect Miracles” retreat. The weekend was full of awesome gems of wisdom from Gabs, but one thing stood out more than anything else for me:

“Are you going to the victim or the warrior?”
Gabby asked all of us.

Every human goes through painful stuff sometimes. Whether it’s physical pain, emotional pain or just life not feeling as good as we’d like it to feel, none of us are strangers to struggle in some way. We can choose whether to live in the victim mentality when we’re going through tough times — or the warrior mentality.

Living life through the role of a victim means we feel helpless in our situations and make excuses as to why things can’t improve. Being a warrior means turning our pain into purpose. I’ll admit, I’ve found myself in both categories at times – but at any given moment we can choose to switch from victim to warrior. For me, developing a consistent yoga practice works WONDERS!

It’s about taking the next step forward, even if it’s a baby step. Seeing your pain as a path to growth. Finding a way to help someone else as a result of the pain you’ve gone through.

Gabby and the spiritual warriors at Kripalu

Gabby went on to say that there’s a huge difference energetically when you’re talking to someone who’s in victim mode vs. someone who’s in warrior mode.  Someone playing the victim role will act powerless over their circumstances, with a “giving up” mentality…”why me?”

The warrior might say something like, “this is what I’m going through — it’s been really hard, but I’m taking things one day at a time, healing, working through it, and learning a lot about myself.”

(And as Gabby also pointed out — which one would YOU rather have lunch with?! I’d rather chill with the pain-to-purpose peeps!)

We may not be able to fully live from the warrior mentality 100% of the time. After all, breaking down and crying is cleansing and healing, too. Things may not always be easy, but the choice we do have at each second is to be willing to see things differently.

A few tips on how to, as Gabby says, “combat the darkness with a tremendous amount of light”:

  • Make self care your primary function.
  • Remember to ask for help. Find your personal team of healers – maybe it’s your friends & family, a therapist, support group, yoga instructor, spiritual practice, chiropractor, juicer, etc.
  • Find ways that working through your own situation can help others, and help someone.
  • Say to yourself, “this may be uncomfortable, but I know it’s a radical assignment for growth.”

Life happens. Experiencing challenges gives us a chance to become stronger and more compassionate. A whole new set of possibilities arises with every life change. Let’s choose to operate from a peaceful warrior mentality with as much strength as we can possibly gather!

(Thanks for an amazing weekend, Gab)

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

gabby July 30, 2012 at 10:32 pm

just posted on fb and twitter. i love this blog. i love you. DON’T MOVE TO LA…
J/K… xoxo


jenny sansouci July 31, 2012 at 10:53 am

love you G! i could never be too far away from you. 🙂


Nicki Corridori July 30, 2012 at 10:40 pm

I Love this! Life… you cant stop it… even if you try!!!!


Dominique Colvard July 30, 2012 at 10:44 pm

I had such a great experience at Kripalu this weekend. Your blog is really on point regarding how to handle our pain and remember our assignments.
I am really sorry I did not get a chance to introduce myself to you this weekend. I would have really like to meet you…perhaps next year!!!
<3 Dominique


jenny sansouci July 31, 2012 at 10:54 am

yes – Kripalu was great! looking forward to meeting you next year! xo


Stacy Boegem July 31, 2012 at 12:23 am

Thank you so much for writing this post, Jenny. Gabby is amazing. I was fortunate to attend the retreat at Kripalu last summer just weeks after being diagnosed with melanoma, and it was such a healing experience for me. She introduced me to the concept that difficult relationships, challenging circumstances, sickness, disease, loss – each one is an ASSIGNMENT. Just that simple concept was so illuminating for me, b/c it becomes so much more empowering when you see the challenge, and you assume your WARRIOR mode and TAKE ACTION to address the challenge. p.s. love your site and what you’re all about 🙂


jenny sansouci July 31, 2012 at 10:55 am

Thanks for sharing, Stacy – I’m so glad Gabby’s work has helped you so much…keep it up 🙂 xo


Hadley Gustin July 31, 2012 at 11:57 am

Such a great post, Jenny! I love that it is so relatable. Nothing sounded preachy or distant. I could totally see myself in both of these roles, victim and warrior, and although I do try to be the warrior more often then not, you are so right in that it is a constant challenge and choice that we face every day. Looking forward to reading more from you, Girl.


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