Monday, September 7, 2009

Victims and Victors

Having spent over two decades observing and often times internalizing the predicaments of those around me, at least one thing has become clear. We are pretty much conditioned by society to think, act and live as victims. Wait, let's not even blame society, we are conditioned by ourselves and one another (those who enable us) to think, act and live as victims. We are always looking for ways to remove ourselves from the doom-ridden world of blamedom. Ever since our days on the playground, we knew that blame was always directed through your finger, pointing directly at SOMEONE ELSE. It takes us at least 15 years-and for some folks even longer-to get the whole "there are 3 finger pointed back at you" thing. Some people get it and just plain ignore it.Very well then. There's even book that I used to read to my kids called "The Terrible, Awful, No good, Very Bad day" about a girl whose whole day goes wrong and she is? You guessed it. The victim. Hmmm.

I've seen people make a life for themselves centered around the hurt they suffered at the hands of someone else....decades ago. Their overall personal growth is stunted, meanwhile, the offender goes on to live a healthy life. The reality of a life of such victimization is that once you stop, complaining, you are ultimately STILL responsible for the direction in your life. Whether you succeed or fail still depends on you. And before I continue, I think that it's important to make the distinction between those who have suffered mental, spiritual, emotional, physical harm at the hands of someone else and those who have elected the victim mentality as a way of life. What does it mean to be a victor? For a victor, adversity is fuel which powers them forward toward the finish line. A victim regards every bit of adversity as the Gods of the universe taking a swipe at their insignificant existence.

We're all very familiar with a most common form of victimization, drama. Drama casts a person, a victim, in a theatrical interpretation of a less dramatic situation,starring, themselves. Let's put it this way, I live in a house of Oscar Award Winners. I'll probably regret having said that at some point.The beauty/tragedy of both the position of victim and victor in a situation is that they can be the same person. The way I see it, someone can shift from being one or the other through a series of choices. They include:

(1) Identifying a reoccuring pattern in victimized situations. P.S- DONT REPEAT THESE PATTERNS

(2) Take ownership of who you are- what's your potential to cause such problems?? Be HONEST!

(3) Request that people (friends, family, innocent bystanders that happened to sit down next to you in the break room and wish they hadn't) STOP enabling you!! Make an earnest plea.

(4) Consider the situations of those who are less fortunate. (They do not have to be poor.)- This is the real kicker and will probably shut you up really quick.

I've met countless people who are afflicted by illness or suffering the burden of an extraordinarily painful situation who still manage to give SO MUCH to others. Homeless people who have greatly inspired me to keep doing what I am doing. While these things amaze me, they also speak to the small mindedness of people who are unable to do so. I know, everyone is not a superman or woman, but it is a request that we must make of our humanity. In a recession, especially, when job loss becomes the norm, it is all too easy to curl up into a ball. But tests like these are really only a mirror reflecting your character and strength. The truest of opportunities to choose victory over victimization. Becoming a victor doesn't make the hurt, or the pain, or the frustration or the consequence go away. It does, however, put a person in a situation where they can begin to forgive, take ownership, and MOVE ON. Most importantly, they can make the kind of impact that the world needs. An impact that is characterized by boldness possessed by those who claim it. A boldness to which the perpetual victim has no access. The fact that we, as a collective society, haven't really learned this pretty much explains why we are where we are. But as the saga of real life continues to unfold, we realize that the future belongs only to the victors. As for the perpetual victims, there is no room available. Pick your team.

My grandma says about people (much like someone would comment on cheap tables and chairs) "They don't make em like they used to." I hope she's wrong.

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