It’s incredibly easy, in fact society almost demands it, that we should feel the victim of circumstance. Headlines such as ‘Victim of Abuse’ or ‘Victim of Fire’ or ‘Victim of Persecution’ etc etc serves the commonly held belief that external circumstances are responsible for our psychological state, our mood and, worse still, the subsequent course of our lives.
But this is nonsense, which can be demonstrated by the lives of those who, in the face of truly terrible circumstances, have forged powerful life stories and helped countless others to do the same. I once spoke to a survivor of the Nazi Concentration Camp of Dora Mittelbau in central Germany. Liberated in his late teens, he said that he quickly realised that the fact of his liberation – and the experiences that went before it - were only given meaning by what he chose to do in the next ten minutes. He decided to become an educator. He eschewed victim-hood in favour of the right to own his own life story and to use his experience for the benefit of others.
So how do you feel less like a victim?
Victim-hood totally negates the opportunity that even the worst circumstances offer for us to grow as people, so accept that what has happened is a life lesson.
Seeing yourself as a victim, robs you of your power and agency over yourself, so take time to find meaning in the lesson you’ve learned and gratitude for the opportunity to grow.
Being a victim takes away your ability to use and redeem your experience, so decide how you are going to live your life in a way that honours the lessons you’ve learned. You may wish to campaign for the good of those similarly affected, or you might want to reach out to help, empower and inspire; the possibilities are endless.
There is a time to feel the pain of a betrayal, to rail against an injustice or to tend the wounds of physical and emotional violence, but an attitude of victim-hood removes the power we have to redeem experience through applying the lessons learned for our own benefit and the benefit of others.