COMMENTARY 978.3: Curing Victimitis

Watch your thoughts; they lead to attitudes.
Watch your attitudes; they lead to words.
Watch your words; they lead to actions.
Watch your actions; they lead to habits.
Watch your habits; they form your character.
Watch your character; it determines your destiny.

These words of unknown origin tell us that our silent and often subconscious choices shape our future. Every aspect of our lives, at home and at work, can be improved if we use our power to think, reflect, and make conscious choices about our thoughts, attitudes, words, actions, and habits.

Instead, many of us think of ourselves as victims. We complain about our circumstances and what others did to us. Whatever psychological comfort there is in feeling powerless and blameless when things aren’t going right, victims lead unsatisfied lives in the end.

We’re most vulnerable to victimitis when we’re under the influence of powerful emotions like fear, insecurity, anger, frustration, grief, and depression. These feelings can be so overwhelming that we believe our state of mind is inevitable. Our only hope is that they’ll go away on their own. Yet it’s during times of emotional tumult that using our power to choose our thoughts and attitudes is most important. We can’t make pain go away, but we can refuse to suffer.

Even when we don’t like any of our choices, we do have some – once we realize we can take control. It isn’t easy, but what we do and how we choose to feel about ourselves can have a profound impact on the quality of our lives. Victims may get sympathy for a while, but that isn’t nearly enough.

Taking personal responsibility for our happiness and success can be scary, but the payoff is enormous. Although we can’t make our lives perfect, we can make them better – usually a lot better.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

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Comments 8

  1. Working with teen boys placed in the juvenile system, it is difficult for them not to play the “blame game” when irresponsible parents don’t parent.

  2. You forgot to mention the influence of poverty pimps like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson that rely on vicitimitis for their power … and wealth. They have a very vested interest in fomenting a victim mentality, instead of one of personal responsibility.

  3. Sometimes our culture makes us victims. If the culture all around you is filled with poverty. It is difficult to step out of that culture due to lack of money, knowledge how to get out of that vicious circle, and the fear of stepping out of the culture they are living in. For some, their destiny was determined before they were ever born.

    1. Everyone has choices. Many people have made it out of poverty. In fact, the poverty one might be trying to escape may be the very thing that can get you in to college or a training program. Opportunities are there if one looks for them.
      Unfortunately, there may not be many role models for people within there communities and that is why those of us that work in (but do not live in) those communities must help to guide and educate people on the opportunities that are available. Education is the key. It is the golden ticket.

  4. NOBODY CAN MAKE YOU DO ANYTHING! WE CHOOSE OURSELF TO BECOME VICTIMS!!!! DON’T BLAME OTHERS! THAT IS THE WHOLE PROBLEM… How is it that so many others, who come from poverty, poor parenting, poor schools, etc, etc, etc. do succeed? (NO matter what color, sex, ethnic origin, religion, etc) ….They wanted more…Somehow they found it within themselves to better themselves. Yes! It is hard…and it is harder for some then others…ie. the first in a family to go to college or even finish high school, or start a business (if you do not fail at least 50% of the time you are not trying enough!)…but it is possible and constantly fostering “victimitis” and allowing people to blame others for their failure, does not help them or anyone. Put a finite end to allowing the perpetuation of “victimitis”. We play that card all too often.!! Lay the BLAIM for failure where it belongs…on the shoulders of the one who Quits…A Loser is one who gives up or Quits…a Winner is one who never quits or gives up. You may not always be first But you never give up! Lets all be Winners!

  5. It is important for individuals to realize their worth, regardless of their circumstances in life. The mere fact that they were created by our Supreme Father, indicates that each of us has something special, and it is our responsibility to do something productive with that God given gift. Life happens, and we all will face highs and lows in the journey of life. The way we respond, react, and handle those changes will determine the outcome. Many times, the lows in life help us discover our strengths that we are often unaware that we possess. They make us stronger, and teach us life’s lessons that we can’t learn elsewhere. Face hard times with a relentless vigor that just won’t let failure or defeat become an option.

    Dr. Rena B. Giles-Rice

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