Don't be a victim.

April 3, 2009 at 5:18 pm Leave a comment

For the most part, I get along with people.  I consider myself fairly accepting of those different than me.  Overall, my attitude towards other people is “it’s your life.”

However, there is one group of people that drives me insane.  They can be summed up in one word: VICTIMS.  I’m not talking about honest-to-God victims, people who have been hurt by violence or horrible accidents that left them disabled or disfigured. Those are real victims who deserve our sympathy, support, and encouragement.

No, I’m talking about those people who view the world as out to get them and never take responsibility for the state of their own lives.  These victims are constantly blaming others for their circumstances.  They are usually offended by unintended, even imagined, slights and offhanded comments.

We all know these people.  They are our family.  Our coworkers.  Our acquaintances.  For the most part, they are not our friends, for who wants to be friends with someone who is always looking for someone else to blame?

I’m not an expert, but in my experience victims come in one of three forms:

1.  The Angry Victim.  This person is always on a rant. We’ve all experienced headaches with insurance companies, medical professionals, car dealerships, etc.  The non-victim will accept the challenge, work through it, and move on.  The angry victim will tell anyone and everyone how the other party was trying to screw them over and how wronged they have been in the situation.  A non-victim will recognize that sometimes, screwups happen.  A victim has convinced themselves that everything that happens to them is intentional, and will harbor a grudge for time eternal.  The angry victim has a tendency to hold others to impossible standards while cutting themselves much slack.

2.  The Helpless Victim.  The helpless victim feels that they have no power over their lives.  Things happen to them because of other people’s actions, and it is never their fault.  They might say, “It’s just not fair that I was fired from my job.  I mean, nobody told me how I was supposed to do that project.  If they had shown me how to do it step by step, I could have done it correctly.”  I encountered these people in a professional setting quite frequently.  Here’s a thought: why not be proactive and figure out how to accomplish the task on your own?  These people let life happen to them instead of controlling their own futures.

3.  The Martyr.  This victim is harder to recognize, but is a victim all the same.  This person doesn’t stand up for themselves or the things they want.  They are often taken advantage of by stronger-willed people.  Many times, the martyr feels that they have been personally singled out by God Himself, and He keeps sending bad things their way while everyone else gets God’s blessings.

I am a firm believer in the adage that “God helps those who help themselves.”  Let’s face it, crap happens in life.  We all hit bad times. We all deal with small challenges every day that leave us with a headache.  At some point, we all will experience the loss of a job, the death of a loved one, the ending of a dream.

But it’s how we work through those bad times that defines us.  God supports us, and He gives us the necessary resources to get through the rough patches.  He wraps His loving arms around us and lifts us up when we are so low we cannot even rise to our knees.  However, He cannot do any of that until we let Him in and allow Him to work in our lives.  In order to fully realize His plan for us, we have to meet Him halfway; we have to do the hard work ourselves before we can completely understand why we experience the things that we do.

This concept even applies to those small challenges that face us every day.  We can’t choose the things that happen to us, the mistakes that are made, the trials we face.  We can, however, control our attitude and our approach to even the little annoyances.  We can choose to blame God and other people around us for the bad things, or we can wake each morning and thank God for the blessings He has given us.  Even in these times, those blessings are plentiful.  And I choose to thank Him for them every single day.

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Entry filed under: Life in general.

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