BK Magazine BK Life
Posted by Jeevan Sivasubramaniam, Managing Director, Editorial, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.
Noah Blumenthal points out that to become heroes we need to realize that we're often trapped in a cycle of victimhood that only encourages passivity and inaction. The truth is that no one makes us victims, we do it all ourselves.
Consider these five ways we make ourselves victims without even realizing it:
1. We let other people own our emotions. “He makes me so mad.” “It’s her fault I feel this way.” No one forces you to feel anything. Whether or not you realize it those feelings are still your choice. Other people have their own issues to work out, and sometimes those issues lead them to push you toward anger or misery. If you accept their push you are making yourself a victim of their action instead of the hero in this story.
2. We allow injustice to make us completely miserable. “It’s not fair.” When this becomes a mantra that rules our emotions, we have become victims of the world around us. Very little in this world is fair, but that’s not the point. We have much to be grateful for and much to do. Focus on the positive elements in your life and you gain the energy to take action against the injustices you see.
3. We get caught up in “Why?” “Why is this happening to me?” “Why do I have to go through this?” There are usually no good answers to these questions. And the questions themselves create more self-pity, sadness, anger, and bitterness. To find a heroic response we need to shift from “Why?” to “What?” “What should I be thankful for?” “What can I do now?”
4. We think that a problem is too big. “Global warming is beyond my control.” “I can’t fight corporate corruption. It’s too wide spread.” Nonsense. Every great challenge is overcome when a multitude of small, perhaps seemingly insignificant, actions become overwhelming in their momentum and force.
5. We equate frightening options with no options. “There’s nothing I can do.” This is just a more comfortable way of saying "I’m afraid of what will happen if I take action." We always have options, though they may be scary. We may need to risk our comfort or ego or luxury or standing, but there is always something we can choose to do.
Do you agree with Noah? Disagree? Other thoughts or comments? You know what to do....