I recently heard someone say, “She always seems to have a chip on her shoulder.” Upon hearing that old phrase, I decided to write this piece. Hope it’s not too blunt. 😎
Defining The Chip: Victim Thinking
When a person has a chip on his or her shoulder, that person is essentially holding a grudge, carrying a grievance, and feeling sorry for self. That shoulder chip often leads to belligerence, blame, whining, complaining, anger, and argumentativeness. Not good stuff.
When we have a “chip on the shoulder,” we are simply wallowing in —
Unlike our beautiful balloon rising above the Colorado landscape, well—we’re not rising above.
At the end of this piece, we’ll share 6 steps to rising above victim thinking. Read on!
But here’s the thing about victim thinking:
Humans <almost> never need encouragement to play the victim. We get there quite easily all by ourselves.
Stop Helping People Have Chips
Have you noticed many folks on Facebook, Twitter, and other Social Media platforms seem to go out of their way to encourage others (groups, races, genders, political parties, individuals) to play the victim? I don’t get it.
Does “unfair” happen in this world? Of course. But …
Does posting about “unfairness” help anyone live a better life?
When we dwell on what’s not fair do we grow?
What value exists in driving others toward victimhood?
As a mentor taught me to always ask—What’s the purpose?
I don’t see the purpose in posts that encourage people to place a new chip on their shoulder or grow an old one. My counsel is this:
Do not do anything to encourage anyone to add one more shoulder chip to his/her life. I know when I am sporting a chip or two, I am at my worst.
Why would I want others to go there?
We All Could Have Chips
Who can’t find something to be angry about, no matter our heritage, upbringing, past, or present?
Here’s my “tragic to the trivial” list:
- My dad was an alcoholic. Should I remain wounded at age 60?
- When I was 7, my mother slapped me with a hairbrush, causing my cheek to bleed. Should I dwell on this one parenting lapse 53 years later?
- My mom died of an aneurysm one Tuesday when I was 16. Am I a victim?
- In 9th grade, I was hit, knocked down, and kicked by three African American teens. Is it right to hold that against Blacks today? And …
- When I told the principal about the attack, he blamed me for “being on school grounds after school.” Should I now march in protest of school administrators who fear the “racist” label?
- I had a horrible customer experience with a store manager at Auto Zone. Should I boycott Auto Zone? (Story here)
- I found an un-chewable something in my RX protein bar that was so hard, I almost broke a tooth. Should I sue the distributor, Chocolate Bar Company?
Personally, I don’t want my headstone to read —
Here lies an angry, grudge-holding, always-a-victim fella who believed the world was out to get him.
What To Do With Those Chips
When I have a chip on my shoulder, that is, when I play victim, I serve no one. I don’t serve my family, employer, co-workers, friends, customers, community, place of worship, humankind—or myself.
That’s right—not even me. So let’s work to eliminate them right now!
6 Steps To Eliminating Shoulder Chips
- Ask, “When I slip into victimhood, what personal ‘hot button’ issues am I focused on?” Jot them down.
- Identify the negative emotions that are engendered when you focus on those issues. Know your feelings inside and out.
- Since emotions drive actions, specifically identify where those negative feelings take you behaviorally. Write them down. Now cross them out!
- Commit to doing no harm. Face-to-face, by phone/email/text, or on Social Media—DO NOT HELP OTHERS PLAY VICTIM.
- If Social Media is a source of angst leading you to acquire more shoulder chips, stay/get off all platforms now.
- Identify the people who help lead you down the victim path. Ask them to stop or, if possible, disassociate from them today.
In the end, our goal is to discipline ourselves while encouraging each other to rise above, brush those shoulder chips off, and be our best.
Do you believe this to be a worthy goal?