We live in a crowded world. There are things that happen around us every day. These things do not happen in a vacuum. People, circumstances, climate, and culture are inevitable variables in the arena of life. There are two fundamental ways to respond to these inevitabilities. Two warring perspectives that vie for our attention. One of these options will cripple us and the other will set us free.
There is no doubt that life affects us. The decisions of others influence us. Victim mentality is when we take these affects and surrender all power and control to them.
All of us fall into victim mentality from time to time. Politicians are to blame. My coworkers, friends, or spouse has made me feel this way. The most harrowed cry of our hearts is “Why is this happening to me?”
When we surrender to victim mentality, we surrender to our circumstances. We abandon the three things we can control and demand that the external setting change before we are okay.
Life is happening to us. Our emotions, successes, failures, disappointments, and fears are all a result of being dealt a bad hand by our external surroundings.
On the other hand, there is a dormant truth we too often ignore. We are a part of life. We are one of the people, a participant in the circumstances.
Things do not just happen to us; we happen to things. It is a two-way street.
By taking ownership of the three things we can control, we refuse to allow victim mentality to cripple us. We take hold of the ownership of our influence and the very real ability we have to affect the people and circumstances around us.
We always have a choice. There are things that happen to us, some of them terrible. But nothing is so terrible that it removes our ability to chose. Victor Frankyl speaks about this in Man’s Search for Meaning. The Nazis beat down Frankyl and his fellow prisoners, but there was a private part of his soul they could not touch. Hope, faith, an unwillingness to abandon good, are choices available to us in even the most tragic of scenarios. And the choices allowed Frankyl an incredible testimony about the power of meaning in his life.
A Changed Perspective
It is a fact that we are victims. Victims of abuse and disappointment and all sorts of things. While these facts are indisputable, there is a deeper truth. The truth is that we have the ability see beyond the choices made for us and own the choices available to us.
It is not always easy. It is never easy. Much simpler is the idea of leaning on others to provide our validation and success, to blame others for our plight and our spurned emotions.
Much more difficult is the ownership of choice. How can we rise above the circumstances and be the kind of people who affect the atmosphere rather than the kind who falsely believe they are enslaved by it? All it takes is a subtle perspective shift. A change that can transform your life.