In our blog, The Solution Is Right In Front of Me, I stated, “My life can and will be better when I choose to make it better. Anything else is blame, whining, procrastination, and victim thinking.”
Many Amen!-type comments arrived, but Alicia objected by email:
“John, self-effort will get a person off the couch and can improve a life (compared to being a slug), but self-effort alone is not the determining factor in achieving success. There are many other factors. To believe that is not ‘victim thinking.’”
That’s okay. Nice people can disagree nicely.
But then Lori sent a comment. Well, more of a story that we’ll share now.
The Lori Story
John, I was married to a passive/aggressive, negative, and angry man who complained constantly. I did my best to remain positive and be the best mom possible. But, our marriage did not last.
Post-divorce, he wanted to get back together, but I didn’t believe he’d changed. So I told him, “No, thanks. I’m good.”
Bluntly, I chose to not be his enabler anymore while he emotionally and mentally abused me.
He’s now married to wife #4, while I am happily enjoying a fulfilling life and career. Every day I make a difference in the lives of people by providing outstanding customer service in the workplace—and love doing it.
It’s true, life is what we make it—so make it wonderful! And, yes, you may quote me.
We just did! Thanks, Lori!
Don’t Go There
There’s a viral video out there attempting to demonstrate how the family we were born into, our heritage, and the opportunities available to us affect how far we might go in life. All very interesting. But …
In my humble opinion, when we start believing in caveats, exceptions, and extenuating circumstances, we slip into victim thinking. To lament where/how I began life and what I did/didn’t have doesn’t help me move forward. I mean, why go there? What’s the point?
Truth: For every person who struggles because the deck was stacked against him or her, there’s another who was dealt the same deck and yet achieves great things. How? By staying away from finger-pointing, blame, and victim/entitlement thinking.
I want to be like that person—the one who chooses the path of Personal Accountability. Don’t you?
Furthermore, as much as I dislike victim thinking, I detest the efforts of those who strive to cause others to play the victim. AKA politicians—but that’s another blog. 🙂
Let’s close with a comment from Dan of Hubbard Family Swim. It says it all:
“John, I am only a victim if I think and act like one. Everyone on this planet could find a reason to play the victim, but some CHOOSE not to—and it is those people who rise above.”
I totally agree! Victim thinking gets me no where in this life. Personal accountability is the only way to go. How I respond to the “bad” things in life makes a huge impact on how well I get through it. Thank you for the reminders!
Reymie, love it! Thank you so much!
There are people you let in your life
Who you let cause a lot of strife
Don’t give them the right
Let them take to flight
Cut them out as you would with a knife
Cliff Note: I mean make a clean break
Hi John, Good stuff. My mom used to tell me, “Can’t never could.” She was right.
Alicia may be correct that self-effort alone is not the determining factor is achieving success. However, it may well be the only factor over which you have control. I’m not willing to concede that I am a puppet whose success lies in the hands of the puppet masters that control those “other factors.”
I love this post. When I was in my practical nursing program I, along with my fellow students would complain about assignments being dumb, not fair, and so on. I had a realization one day. All of this complaining was a distraction from the fact that I still needed to do it. So, I stopped the whining and got to work. This attitude has helped me in my career and as I have gone on with my education earning my BSN, and I am now in a MSN program.
John: I shared the following 60 minute clip from a story about the trip from despair to hope by one of the Lost Boys of the Sudan. He incredible drive to not be a victim is so inspirational:
60 minutes clip – From despair to hope – (14.46)
I love this! I have several people around me that are always victims. I have always felt bad for them because it must be an awful way to live all time blaming others for your circumstances. It’s so much easier to take personal accountability for the good AND the bad.
Victim thinking is a virus that can the destroy the life blood of any individual, team, organization or country. It weakens our way of thinking, our desire to get better and self worth.
Our challenge is to respectfully push back and create a vaccine of accountable thinking. IMHO
When I argue for my limitations, I get to keep them! When I choose to let go of them, they no longer control my attitude or behavior.