Any time you give your power away to someone or something else, you are victimizing yourself. Your initial reaction to that statement may be, “I would never do that.” Well, perhaps you don’t think you have, but most people do at one time or another. Some do it nearly all the time.
Here are two common examples: Blaming and Complaining. Whenever you are doing either of these things, you are pointing your finger outward and giving your power away.
Let’s say you are overweight. You could easily blame the way food is processed now or all the unhealthy items readily available. You could blame heredity if you have several relatives who also struggle with weight. You could blame the sedentary lifestyle so common in our society.
Even though all these conditions could be true, they are all circumstances that you can work around with effort and determination. You can choose to eat healthy as there are plenty of those options as well.
You can choose to have an active lifestyle versus sitting in front of the television every night. And doctors will tell you heredity is generally a small factor in most health conditions. Lifestyle choices can far outweigh (pardon the pun) genetic issues.
Complaining is another way to victimize yourself unnecessarily. Many people complain about their jobs. “I’m not paid enough, the conditions here are unbearable, I hate my boss.” Working somewhere is a choice.
You could have a conversation with your employer about the atmosphere and offer suggestions to improve the environment. You could ask what it would take to earn a raise or bonus. You could have an honest discussion about your concerns with their leadership.
Or, you could get another job.
Everything (except death in most cases) is a choice. Even paying taxes is a choice. If we don’t of course, we could experience very serious consequences, but it’s still a choice. There’s no point in complaining about it really.
Complaining about the weather is another common one. We live in the Midwest. That means it could be snowing, freezing, or 74 degrees in February, right? The point is, we can’t control the weather. Why get upset about it all the time?
In our relationships, victimizing ourselves by blaming and complaining is particularly damaging. When you point your finger at someone else, you are giving away your power. You cannot change another person. That’s up to them.
Self-help pioneer Wayne Dyer says, “All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you or the situation.”
However, if you do not like the circumstances in a relationship, you can change yourself, make a request of the other person, remain in the relationship as it is, or end the relationship. Again, these are all legitimate choices, and choices are empowering.
When you take responsibility for all of your circumstances whether it’s your health, your habits, your professional life, your relationships, or anything else, you give yourself the opportunity to create what you want and discard the rest.
People who feel they have control in their lives are generally happier and more successful people. In his book, The Success Principles, Jack Canfield says, “Learn to replace complaining with making requests and taking action that will achieve your desired outcomes. The world doesn’t owe you anything. You have to create it.”
Bad things happen to people sometimes, and they truly are victims by definition. People are attacked, get robbed, get raped, etc. You do not choose these circumstances. Therefore, you feel like a victim, and that is understandable.
However, when you can shift your language around these kinds of tragic events and consider yourself a survivor instead of a victim, you will feel stronger and more capable of healing from the very terrible circumstances you have endured.
No matter what your story is, you can choose to approach life victimizing yourself or giving yourself the best chance of creating the life you really want. Your attitude, thoughts, and courage in taking action toward what you really want will surpass any roadblocks, difficulties, or challenges along the way.
© - Cindy D. Whitmer (February 7, 2015)