Standing Strong in a World of Victims
As Anthon St. Maarten once said “Self-pity is spiritual suicide. It is an indefensible self-mutilation of the soul.”. Yet why do we see so much of it in today’s society?
Sure, there are victims everywhere. Actual victims. People who get attacked, robbed, tricked, cheated, defrauded, assaulted or killed. We all get put back on our heels from time to time by life’s events. This is the reality of existence; from time to time, the unpredictable occurs. We get rocked by change, or someone comes into our world and tries to change it against our will.
There is however a growing proportion of the population which both create and amplify their own disasters. People who feel like victims constantly, and believe that they are being victimised. These people stand-out in that they approach life on the back foot, eyes constantly looking for an opportunity to blame. This “victim mentality” requires two ingredients; an oppressor, and a victim. For these people, all they need is the trigger to find the oppressor and the story is complete.
When we view the world through the sharper lense of victimhood, it is not hard to find a narrative to suit. It an easy option for many – assigning blame for your situation gives you a reason for it. You didn’t you’re your job, someone took it from you. Imagining that other people put you somewhere gives you a reason to stay there. Breaking free from victimhood is about licensing yourself to act.
Know someone who needs to break the cycle? Here’s five pieces of advice.
#1 – Victim’s blow off responsibility
So take ownership and responsibility for what you want and what you need. So often in life, we spend our days and weeks serving others and we don’t leave time for ourselves. Just beneath that smile lies a layer of resentment which if you don’t confront it, grows. Name what you need, and take steps to enable it. Name it, and do what you need to do to make it happen, and don’t wait to be given permission.
#2 – No is a good word and people don’t use it enough.
If you don’t want to do something, and you feel it’s a legitimate burden, then name it and don’t do it. When you put yourself last, your mind remembers. You are allowed to have legitimate needs, wants and desires just like anyone.
#3 – Never blame anyone for where you are, even if it seems like the only rational answer in the world.
You put yourself wherever you are right now, and you are the only one that can take yourself out of it. As the Buddhists say, “be clear who has imprisoned you”.
#4 – Get curious about the root cause.
There is a reason why you are feeling weak and powerless right now. Don’t write yourself a victimhood narrative without giving some solid thought to what’s going on around you and how you got here. Are you allowing yourself to be bullied? Is there something deeper which is causing you to allow these situations to occur? Get curious. Patterns don’t occur just once, that’s why we call them patterns.
#5 – Take an enabling step.
It might be small, but try to make a small reaction that is different to how you might normally react. When something happens to you, and when that root feeling arises when you want to blame, or feel like a victim, say no to yourself. The next thing you feel will be positive energy. Push through the fear because you deserve to live.
As always, stay smart and learn as much as you can. These aren’t trivial things. Victim mentalities are subconsciously adopted as a way to cope, often from past trauma, and it takes a conscious effort to rewire. So try. Strength comes in many forms, and the most fundamental is taking accountability for our own situation. Stay old man strong.