CHAPTER ONE: TRANSCENDING THE VICTIM MENTALITY
“Today is a new day. Don’t let your history interfere with your destiny! Let today be the day you stop being a victim of your circumstances and start taking action towards the life you want. You have the power and the time to shape your life. Break free from the poisonous victim mentality and embrace the truth of your greatness. You were not meant for a mundane or mediocre life!”― Steve Maraboli
It’s important to define what a victim is. A victim is someone who is killed, harmed, injured or taken advantage of. My favorite definition of a victim comes from dictionary.com which states, ‘ A victim is a person who is deceived or cheated, as by his or her own emotions or ignorance, by the dishonesty of others, or by some impersonal agency.” We can be a victim of misplaced confidence and a victim of an optical illusion. We can be a victim of crime and political corruption. Being a victim and living life with a victim mentality are two different things, and this book will discuss as many aspects as possible, from race, to religion, to gender to demonstrate how we may heal as individuals and communities and take back control of our life.
In order to not to be a victim, we have to be courageous enough to fight for ourselves when nobody else cares. The difference between being a victim and victim mentality is the world can turn the strongest of us into victims, but it is the weakest of us who cannot move past tragedy and forever remain traumatized. The world is going to hurt us all. Someone with a victim mentality will only look to the hurt and the scar. Someone with a strong mentality will look forward to healing and see the scar as badge of strength. They will see themselves as fighters who won. They will probably say things like, “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” and when they tell their tale of being victimized they will probably make is sound triumphant instead of misfortunate.
Someone with a victim mentality will make themselves out to be a loser. They will see the unfortunate events they experienced in the darkest light possible. They will probably say things like, “I have a miserable life. I was destined to be destroyed by the world”. They put the worse spin on things, instead of seeing the light in the darkness. There is an opportunity to be made tougher and wiser from the tragedy we experience. Tragedies aren’t a good thing, but there is a lot to be learned from tragedies. Tragedies can teach us how strong we are or weak. It can teach us about the madness of other humans and the heroic natures of humans as well. Being in a tragic situation is perhaps the fastest way to learn what kind of person we are.
Tragedies aren’t personal. It’s random and it’s better not to take the misfortunes of life too seriously. Nobody should ever beat themselves up because life beat them up, but this is what a person with a victim mentality will do. They will blame themselves and say they deserved it and they deserve more bad things to come and expect them to come. What defines us isn’t what happens to us because a happening is temporary. All things come to pass.
What defines us is how we think about the events that occurred because how we think, directly influences our actions and the life we will lead. If we are abducted we can hide in the shadows forever, and most people will understand this and leave us be, or we can take self-defense classes and become a force to be reckoned with and live a fearless life because we survived the worse. We can take tragedies as an opportunity to feel invincible or cowardice. The choice is always ours unless we die, but there is solace in the afterlife make no mistake.
The bottom line is it all comes down to self-value. The more we value ourselves the less likely we are to be a victim. Bullies go after the weak. This is the law of the jungle. If we are acting weak, there is a good chance we are going to get preyed on. Most crimes are crimes of opportunity. If we give people the opportunity to take advantage of us they will. It’s important to accept we often become a victim because of the choices we make like giving our personal power over to the incompetence of others. If we cannot accept we have control over our fates, nobody can help us emerge from our tragedies.
There is a good chance we are the ones holding ourselves back by accepting the blandness of life, and humdrum routine we have found ourselves in. Make no mistake, we all have great power within us, but few of us choose to use and exercise that power. Instead we choose to be a victim of circumstances, of others, of ourselves. Most tragedies are random, but some tragedies we attract. Some of us position ourselves in dangerous environments time and time again, baiting death, practically begging it to take us, like the guy who always starts fights at a bar, or the girl who always walks in skimpy clothing down dark streets late at night.
There is a certain point in adulthood when we have to stop pretending to be naive. We know what the world is. Therefore, we should not act so foolish and expect not to be laughed at when we are playing the fool. We have to learn from our misfortunes. Our misfortunes are our greatest teachers. There is more to learn from sorrow than happiness, if it’s only that we learn gratitude and being thankful for being alive instead of grumpy about it. So many of us are grumpy about our perfectly fulfilling lives that we need the reality check of tragedy to remind us to be grateful.
Now being at a party drunk, then taken upstairs and taken advantage of after you passed out makes you a victim. Leaving your property in a public space and then having it stolen makes you a victim. Identity theft is on the rise, and someone stealing your personal information and maxing out your credit cards makes you a victim. Getting into a car accident because the other driver ran a red light makes you a victim. With that being said, there is a saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me”.
If we continue to get hammered at parties, and wake up the next day declaring someone raped us again, we are functioning from a victim mentality because we are not learning from our mistakes and we continue to position ourselves in a state of weakness. If our stuff continues to get stolen, we are not being mindful enough to keep our private property out of public spaces. We are not learning from life’s lessons and life will keep teaching us until we finally get it. Don’t be stupid. Walking alone at night is stupid. Wearing expensive stuff in dangerous neighborhoods is stupid. Getting too drunk in public is stupid.
Maya Angelou said, “A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim.” We have to accept we have control over our life if we are ever going to take control of our life and carve out the life we want for ourselves. To say nobody wants to be a victim would be a bold lie. There are plenty of us who willingly position ourselves in helpless situations. Countless individuals willingly and by choice give their power away to more aggressive types. There are dominant and submissive personality types at work in the world and as far as role playing goes this means those of us who identify as submissive, weak, or unable to lead our own life without allowing more aggressive types to dictate our actions choose to be cast into such helpless roles. If we are going to stop being victims, the first step we have to do is stop letting aggressive types control us and breed fear into us.
If you would like to read more please order your copy of Transforming the Victim by Kay Loven soon.