A Fallen World:
Evil lurks in all corners of the globe and expresses itself in many ways. Wars, terrorism, domestic violence, sexual assault, racial injustice, and other hate crimes seem to fill the front-page day after day.
While suffering is inevitable, we do not have to allow past sufferings to keep us in bondage. Life is too short to allow hardships to define us or keep us from growing into what we were made to become.
I do not write this to minimize anyone’s hardships or to suggest that the journey to overcome is a simple one. Rather I write this to help bring understanding on how we may be able to disassemble one of the most powerful strongholds in our world, the metal roadblock that keeps so many people in bondage.
As a business owner, and leadership coach with a primary responsibility of helping individuals grow into what they were meant to be, I have had the privileged of sitting across the table from hundreds of individuals over the years. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to help someone get past their personal roadblocks and discover their purpose in this world.
Over the years I have noticed some distinct common threads that nearly all the most successful people in history possess. The greatest characteristic is that they are overcomers. They all faced many obstacles such as oppression, physical disadvantages, economical disadvantages, and competitive opposition, but somehow pushed through to acquire the place they seemed to be destined to reach.
While there are external forces all around us that wage war against our personal success, I have found that the obstacles we glorify in our heads present the greatest obstacles. The limitations we allow to exist in our own thoughts far outweighs the external circumstances we must overcome. The reason they are so hard to overcome is because we think these ideas are supposed to help us. They have an appearance of wisdom but have an inverse consequence that keeps us in emotional bondage. We push these buttons harder and more often, and it seems things only get worse. Much like struggling to free yourself from quicksand.
I believe that the greatest roadblock for many in this generation is a victim mentality. I will use the term “Victimism” to describe this state of mind. A person who embraces victim mentality would be a victimist. To be clear, there is a difference between a victim and a victimist. We are all victims of circumstances and evil behavior pointed toward us at times in our lives. Some far more than others. Victimists embrace a victim mentality as a defense mechenism. Not all victims are victimists, many are overcomers. Not all victimists are victims, they tend to play the part for personal gain (as I did). Many victims use their experience to become victimists. Victimism comes natural to most people. It is also taught and encouraged by other vicitmists.
The Urban Dictionary says:
“Victimism can similarly be defined as a kind of philosophy whereby one chooses to perpetually see one’s self as a victim of some sort for the purpose of accruing sympathy and empathy. The ultimate purpose of victimism is simply to attain social power, influence, and status by exploiting the well-meaning sympathies and good intentions of the general populace for its social/political support. If one “plays the victim” one can gain power and influence by exploiting the sympathies of the masses.”
Successful people encounter hardship just like everyone else. Sometimes the hardships make them even stronger. Individuals that have been protected from hardship are ill-equipped for success and find they have not been prepared to go the extra mile. It takes a measure of persistent struggle to develop a finely tuned agent of victory. The greater the obstacle, the greater the achievement.
Michael Jordan has a ferocious personality that is bent towards overcoming. The more you tell him he cannot do, the more determined he is to prove you wrong. There is no victimism in his head. This persistent mindset is common amongst high performing athletes, leaders and top-level performers in any field.
Responibility and Victimism:
Make no mistakes, victimism is not a responsible position to embrace. It is what happens when people run from responsibility. It fills the gap left behind. Victimism gives you the excuse for why you have not reached a higher level of success. It allows you to be blameless in your quest for justification. Victimism focuses on the outward circumstances as the determining factor or blame for your own inadiquate status.
I believe victimism is the mindset that keeps people stuck far more than their external circumstances. It is the mindset that keeps us in bondage.
Overcomers will always tell you that they are NOT a victim. They will go to great lengths to make sure they are not perceived as such. They understand that overcoming and victimism are in direct opposition to one other. Once they experience the freedom of escaping victimism, their eyes are opened and they are able to see their lives and future with more clarity and certainty. You may be a victim in your mind, but you don’t have to stay that way. You cannot simultaneously be both a victimist and an overcomer. One requires a fixed mindset, the other a growth mindset.
Principles of an Overcomer:
People who overcome victimism have several mental principles that they have discovered and adopted as their personal mantras for success:
- Overcomers take 100% responsibility for their lives. They understand that what they achieve is going to depend on their desire to overcome rather than helplessness that comes from obstacles placed in their path by other people.
- Overcomers have a “No Excuses” mindset. They do not push responsibility onto others as they once did when they were a victimist. They own up to mistakes, make amends and pay restitution when appropriate. They are quick to apologize and slow to point fingers or place blame on others.
- Overcomers are problem solvers – They look forward and focus on solutions, not backwards toward blame. They are looking for resolution, not justification or blamelessness.
- Overcomers believe that “No one owes me anything”. They are not entitled and do not believe their success depends on anyone else.
- Overcomers have Appreciation – They appreciate everything they have been given and don’t dwell on whay they have not.
- Overcomers don’t feel sorry for themselves. They don’t embrace self-pity or try to gain sympathy from others. Because of this, they have a stronger self-image.
- Overcomers are not quitters. They do not focus on the suffering. They focus on the outcome that comes through personal perseverance. They expect pain. It is the cost of success, always.
- Overcomers don’t have a need to embellish the truth to change people’s perceptions. They thrive on exposing the truth rather than manipulating it for personal gain.
- Overcomers want to help other people to face their own victimism so they can overcome as well. They have discovered something great and want to share it with the world.
- Overcomers do not surround themselves with victimists. They surround themselves with overcomers.
I’ve Been There:
In full transparency, I was a victimist for nearly half of my life. During that time, I didn’t even know that I was. It was like I had a vail over my eyes. Victimism has been in my family all of my life and I was systematically trained up with this mindset. I didn’t know any other way. I learned that emotional manipulation as the ultimate survival technique.
As a young adult, I had been hurt and was angry at my parents, and most everyone. Due to a divorce, my mother, younger brother and sister were struggling just like me and I was angry that my siblings were put in this situation at such a young age. Our world had been turned upside down. It seemed like everyone had abandoned us, either physically or emotionally. It felt like that, because I was a victimist. Reality was a bit different, less dramatic. My mind puffed up my plight.
I was a victim in a minor sense, but then I quickly became a victimist. It was easier than growing up and facing responsibility for my own life. It was easy to make someone else responsible for who I have become. I embraced it and used it as my shield. It was my mask that kept everyone else from seeing my scars and my ugly wounded heart. With my mask, I didn’t have to grow up. It gave me a free pass by lowering everyone’s expectation of me, including my own. In my mind, I wasn’t to blame for my failures. Victimism didn’t expect anything from me, nor did I.
But, there is hope. Through a time of self-discovery I became face to face with the truth about myself. At 23 years old, I was about to take responsibility for my life for the first time EVER…
To hear the rest of this story please contact me and I would be glad to share how I overcame victimism. firstname.lastname@example.org