Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Are you a master or a victim?

“If it's never our fault, we can't take responsibility for it. If we can't take responsibility for it, we'll always be its victim.” ~ Richard Bach

Are you a master of your life or do you play the victim? Bad things happen to all of us. Some of us experience much worse things than others but what we do about it is what separates us into masters or victims.

For a victim, everything is happening to them, instead of through them. Looking in the mirror is difficult and it is easier to blame everyone and everything else. If you look in the mirror, you may have to realize that you are choosing to be or remain the victim. Yes, you have chosen to be the victim. No, I’m not saying that you have chosen to have bad or horrible things to happen to you. You do, however, continue to choose to let an act, circumstance, agency or condition to control you.

Indeed there are times when it is appropriate to feel like a victim. Something has happened that caused you to experience a loss, injury or death. You have to mourn it, grieve it. In fact, it is completely healthy to experience all of the emotions so that you can heal from it. The problem is when we become so comfortable being the victim, avoiding working through those emotions and enjoying the attention of others that we hold our lives hostage and blame others for it. How many of us know someone who blames their current life/addictions/situation on their childhood, their ex-spouse, their past abuse, etc?

Often times when you talk to those who are victims to their past, you assume that the events they are speaking of happened practically yesterday. However after you’ve gotten to know them, you realize it may have happened 10+ years ago and you have to wonder why they haven’t been able to move past it – they are stuck!

To give up your victimhood means having to take responsibility for your life - this very moment. It means you have to let go of your safety net. Let go of drugs, alcohol or any other emotional addictions that you use to numb, lessen or avoid the pain. Facing all of it is scary but you can do it!

You have to claim your pain - own it. Don’t allow it to shame or control you but rather allow yourself to recognize it for what it is. Then just like a beginning swimmer - you have let go of the edge and learn how to swim through the emotions rather than letting your life drown in them.

Reclaim the power you have given over to memories, to someone or something that keeps you a victim and takes away from your energy. Why are you letting them have that control? Get the negative self-talk out of your head! You are worthy! The only person you are penalizing is yourself.

To quote Jillian Michaels,
“Today I want you to ask yourself this one question: why not you? Why not you to do something for work that you love? Why not you to have a healthy body? Why not you to have healthy love? Why not you to be, have, or do anything you have ever dreamed?! We are so quick to think others are more deserving over ourselves. The truth is that we are all deserving so WHY NOT YOU?!”

Take back the power! My youngest daughter learned of a rape of a woman and became so terrified that she was constantly checking and locking windows and doors. I kept reassuring her that she was safe but one night she finally burst into tears and told me, “if you get raped, you die”. I tried to reassure her that rape did not always mean death. In true, pre-teen fashion she practically yelled, “How do you know!?” I calmly told her, “Because I’ve been raped and yet here I am – so no, that is not true.” She immediately began apologizing for my past. I explained to her that she didn’t harm me so she wasn’t responsible and didn’t need to apologize. A friend of mine was completely floored that I’d share such a story with my daughter. I explained that by not talking about it would be like saying I had done something to be ashamed of and would give power back to that person. I’m not willing to do that plus I didn’t want my daughter to grow up believing wrong information. I have freed myself of those victim chains by being able to talk about it and I wanted her to know that the woman had no reason to be ashamed either. Lord knows I carried that burden around for years, long enough for the both of us. You have to let it go.

Why is someone else more deserving than you? You might see people around you that you assume aren’t “damaged goods”, as you may call yourself, so they are more worthy in your mind. You don’t always know their story. Everyone has their own ghosts and demons to conquer. Your past does not define who you are. It is a component that shapes your life but you get to decide – Are you a master or a victim?


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