Do you feel that you’re a victim? Now it is possible that you are, but accepting that label, without some reflection, may be doing you more harm than good.
Victims generally feel that something bad has happened to them and they, themselves, are in no way responsible for it. Now, authentic victims certainly do exist – let’s be perfectly clear on that. Hurricanes, tornados, droughts, earthquakes, and tidal waves have causes far beyond our ability to stop them. However, in a book called, “A Nation of Victims,” Charles Sykes pointed out that far too many of us have grown adept at finding someone else to blame for our problems and ignoring our own personal responsibility for them.
When you give up accountability for any aspect of your life, you also give up control. When you give up control, you’re basically saying, “There’s nothing I can do about it. There is no hope of improvement.” Nothing will change, because you won’t be doing anything to create change. And when others look at you, what kind of example are you setting for the young people in your life?
You see, the mindset of a victim is one of powerlessness, and with a mindset like that, you get used to behaving like a victim. It’s a vicious cycle that can turn into a downward spiral, if you’re not careful.
So, is Mr. Sykes’ assertion correct? Have people come to define themselves, not so much by shared culture, but by their status as victims? Have we – without thinking it through – given up our personal power to exercise control over our thoughts and feelings, over the decisions we make, as well as our control over how we react to what happens to us?
There is a good chance that there’s more than a little truth in this assertion. A stroll through the headline news of the last few years would seem to confirm it. However, if we take more accountability for our own actions, then we also take control over our own lives. And when we take control, we are more willing to stand by the decisions we make – and can say good-bye to the victim mentality.