The stories we tell ourselves about our lives help us understand the world and our role in it. But when those internal narratives become negative, blameful, and disempowering, then they may no longer serve us. Sid McNairy, former football coach at Northern Illinois University and founder and CEO of Nahi Wellness and Sid Yoga (now 4Warriors), invites us to re-evaluate our perspectives, particularly those that are self-victimizing. Sid has transformed many lives (including his own) by championing self-empowerment and encouraging achievement of one’s highest potential. In the following interview, Sid reveals why victim consciousness is limiting, offers guidance for releasing victim mentality, and shares what we can gain from it.
An interview with Sid McNairy
Yogaville: You’re leading a workshop at Yogaville called Releasing Victim Consciousness. How might it be limiting to live and operate with a victim consciousness?
Sid: When a person lives in victim consciousness, everything is happening to them. It becomes a very reactive state of being in which someone is acting in habitual response to a situation rather than choosing consciously how to respond. The reactive state of being is when something happens outside of myself and then, because of my response, I am pushed into a direction that maybe isn’t where I want to go. That happens from being identified as the victim.
When we release victim consciousness, we are freed to move consciously through every day. We move into a place of freedom and creation. In my own personal experience, going from a football coach to the world healer that I am today, releasing victim consciousness allowed me to become an artist, musician, and best-selling author. It allowed me to do all the things I do today. It helped me access a vein of creativity for sure.
Yogaville: What are some ways to release and move beyond the stories that victimize us?
Sid: The first step to moving beyond victim consciousness is to get clear on what is real and what is the mind’s creation or perspective. Once we understand that a thought or idea is just our perspective and not reality, then we’re always free to choose another perspective. That practice is an initial way of shifting that space. Then, using our meditation practice to learn how to pause before moving forward will allow us to strengthen the ability to move with ease and peace through life.
An everyday perspective that many people can relate to is the belief that one needs to go to college to be successful in life. We build this fear around getting the right grades, getting in the right school, and getting the right job. We might think, “If I don’t get the right grades, I won’t get in the right school. If I don’t get in the right school, I won’t get the right job. If I don’t get the right job, I won’t get the right spouse. If I don’t get the right spouse, I won’t be happy, etc.”. The idea that we have to go to college to be successful is just a perspective. When we can recognize that, we then have the opportunity to choose the path that’s best for us.
Yogaville: What can we gain by giving up our ideas of victimization?
Sid: We can gain creativity, freedom, and satisfaction for life. By releasing victim consciousness, I’ve become more satisfied with each and every moment. I’m in awe of the creation of each moment. As I move through the day, I find the ability to be in the present moment. I also have found that by releasing victim consciousness my relationships with family members and colleagues are strengthened. I no longer play from a place of defense in my life. I don’t project blame on the past. I’m open to the creation of love in every moment.
Yogaville: Why do we adopt a victim consciousness to begin with? Is it a defense mechanism?
Sid: I actually think that it’s the system of evolution. We come from love, but moments of life hit us and cause us to fear losing love. We get defensive to hold on to that loving feeling. By releasing victim consciousness and by doing the work, we have an opportunity to reconnect to love and drop our defenses. I believe that this process affects everybody, worldwide. We currently operate from a state of fear which is built around the illusion in our mind. We continue until something knocks us off that path. It’s Newton’s law! This begins when we’re babies—we have pain, but we don’t want pain. When the pain is gone, we become attached to pleasure, so we fear misery rather than embrace love.
Yogaville: You’ve already touched on this, but can you speak a bit more on how releasing victim consciousness has transformed your life?
Sid: By releasing victim consciousness, I am living the life of my dreams. Everybody has a dream—that’s the one thing we all have in common. Why wouldn’t we want to choose to live our dreams in everyday life? To be able to live the dreams that we desire without attachment is a beautiful possibility.
Yogaville: Do the themes in your upcoming workshop correspond to those in your book, The Warrior Within: A Quest for Peace?
Sid: Yes, they definitely do. For sure. So if you’re interested in this workshop, it may be a good read for you.
Yogaville: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us about your upcoming workshop?
Sid: I’m really excited to share this workshop at Yogaville and bring forward what has inspired so many people around the world.