Victims vs. Victors: making the choice.
Some people see challenges as opportunities to create drama. They’re the folks who go through life portraying themselves as perpetual victims, blaming others for their circumstances, however massive or trivial such may be. They share their tales of woe with anyone who will listen—or feign to listen—whether strangers or friends. And in an odd sort of way, they feel empowered by the sympathy garnered as a result.
Others embrace challenges as an opportunity for change, growth or finding a higher purpose. Sometimes this comes in the form of searching for a better way or creating new solutions to age old problems. Sometimes it’s a catalyst for self-reflection in an effort to make the changes needed to move forward and conquer whatever trials and tribulations are still to come. And the shining stars among these are those who rise above the most unfathomable of life-inflicted circumstances and, even though broken inside, radiate inspiration.
I taught my children at an early age, “You can choose to be a victim. Or you can choose to be a victor. The choice you make will shape the life that you live.”
And though they know that I love them no matter what, they have always been aware that they are responsible for the consequences of their choices and their actions. No excuses. When faced with heartbreaking crises, neither succumbed to victim status. They stood tall and strong and did what had to be done. And they made me proud.
Being around “professional victims” is exhausting, and can sometimes create a strange codependency. As the pros orchestrate their daily drama, their soldiers feel obligated to jump to their defense, and to cater to and coddle their master manipulator. Sometimes the recruits even join in the flogging of those who are perceived, often injustly, to have contributed to the crisis du jour. But sooner or later, the sympathy army dwindles away, making it necessary to invite new troopers to the pity party. It’s a vicious, unhealthy cycle, and those who perpetuate it are imprisoned in their own angst.
Being around the victors—those who choose to overcome even the most profound situations—is stirring and uplifting.
People are drawn to them, want to be like them, and find inspiration in their triumphs over tragedy. These conquerors are the people who, despite the immeasurable depths of their own pain or incomprehensible life circumstances, reach out to help others in times of need. They focus on things that matter, and become the beacons that light the way for others. They compel all of us aspire to do more and be more.
These are the people who make a difference. And the world is a better place for them being in it.