Let me start by pointing out two beliefs that most of us share.
One, is that our experience of living is affected by others and the circumstances of our lives.
The second, is that there is such a thing as "good" and "bad" thoughts and feelings.
And, though you may not immediately recognize any lack of logic that these two beliefs share, it is the active participation in these two beliefs that contribute most to our experience of being a "Victim".
My definition of "Victim": Someone who assigns responsibility for what they are thinking or feeling to another person or set of circumstances outside of themselves.
When someone says or does something we don''t like it's human to interpret their expression to have some meaning. And, as we do, some emotion will become present as well. But, rarely do we ever consider exploring the legitimacy of our interpretations. Likewise, we will consider that even the most painful emotion associated with this is something we have little choice about. But, neither thoughts or feelings alone, no matter what they they may be, cause us to feel like a victim. An experience of victim can only be produced by the way we perceive and account for these thoughts and emotions. Believing that the source of them lies outside of ourselves we succumb to the idea that we are less powerful than that person or thing we've assigned cause to. This diminishes our sense of Self and our ability to recreate satisfaction. We've just weakened our position and will likely end up feeling stuck and wrestling within some situation we don't want. This is the role of a victim.
The truth is, no thing or person, or persons behavior or communication can cause us to feel or think anything. If that was so, then everybody that witnesses an event will have the exact same thoughts and feelings about it. But, that's not the case. There are ample examples of horrendous circumstances that have impacted large groups of people. Yet, in spite of these events, different people have had different experiences. Now, I'm not saying that you should have certain thoughts and feelings rather than others. What I am saying, is that whatever thoughts or feelings you do have are yours. They are not forced upon you without any process of your own involved. And, they are neither "good" nor "bad". Maybe you've found yourself reacting to certain emotions in ways that have left you upset. But, that doesn't make the feelings "bad". That just suggests you've not learned how to just experience them without reacting.
Interpretations (thoughts) and emotions are separate from behavior. We do not have to behave in some manner just because we experience a particular emotion or thought. Our behavior can be chosen regardless. And, the sooner we learn to distinguish these from one another, the sooner we will begin reclaiming the power we've been giving away. In essence, we will begin transforming our experience of living from "victim" to "Source".
And, just a side note.... A "victim" mentality is not limited to feelings and thoughts we have considered "bad". Any emotion that we do not take responsibility for being the source of, including love, is part of that mentality. The people in our lives can present us with circumstances. And, that is something we can make requests about. But, what we feel and think is just that. What we feel and think!
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Being true to ourselves can often be a challenge. First and foremost, because we just don't concern ourselves with the concept as much as we may want to. So much of our thinking is spent on analyzing and trying to predict what our circumstances or a particular individual may require of us, that the question of how to be true to ourselves rarely ever gets asked. But, one area we can look at in order to gauge and promote this way of being is by way of our communications. When we are distracted by what we're thinking someone else may be expecting of us there will be a discrepancy between our public and private communications. In other words, what we are saying to ourselves in the moment will be different than what we are saying to the other person. And, since verbal communication effects how others respond to us, we may frequently experience less satisfaction than we'd hoped for within that relationship. We can take steps, however, that will result in speaking more authentically. And, by doing so, we will shift our experience from being at the effect of our relationships to being the source. We will notice confusion give way to clarity and frustration give way to satisfaction. But, having the courage to risk making waves will be an essential element. Not that waves will occur. But, not like they absolutely won't either. If we have a history of not saying what we mean or want, the people in our lives will not be accustomed to hearing what we have been suppressing. So, it's important to bring this perspective to the moments we think our words have hurt rather than helped a situation. Knowing that the bridge between our being inauthentic and authentic may travel over troubled waters.