The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.
–Dr. Albert Ellis
I used to pull the victim card out of my back pocket on a typical basis. I’d feel upset and blame it on my ex-boyfriend for “making me feel that way.” I’d over-eat and blame it on being stressed. I couldn’t stick to a diet because I was always “surrounded by social events that involved alcohol and bad foods.” I didn’t work out because I didn’t “have time.” I got myself into credit card debt and my excuse was, “there’s just always something I need to have!” I’d be in a bad mood and blame it on the weather, the fact that it was Monday, or because I was annoyed at the actions of another. Consequently, I was almost completely dependent on outside circumstances for my happiness and failed to take personal responsibility for just about anything in my life, including my feelings, actions, or attitude.
Do you know someone, or have you been one, who plays the victim; the “poor me” card one too many times? One who makes it seem as if none of their problems in life are their fault, but rather blames others for their misfortune? These, my friends, are the ones I refer to as “victims” in life.
It wasn’t until I turned to self-help books and started reading about leadership and accepting personal resonsilbity that I learned this: You can go through life playing the victim, always feeling sorry for yourself, blaming others (or life itself) for your problems, thinking, life, why do you always do this to me?! Or life is so unfair! Or it’s not my fault, it’s theirs! You can treat life without respect and without credit, but that is what you will ultimately receive in return. When you fail to take personal responsibility for your actions or for your attitude, you are only perpetuating your dissatisfaction towards life by believing that you have no control over it. When you play the victim you will most likely end up feeling unfulfilled, discouraged, and even angry, when these negative emotions could be easily avoided by choosing to play the role of the victor.
When choosing to be a victor, you will need to be ready to take greater responsibility for your actions, faults, and mistakes and stop blaming outside circumstances, and the people/situation you can’t control, for your personal problems. By holding yourself accountable for your actions and for your attitude, you will regain a greater sense of control over your life. You will understand that your life is the direct result of your attitude and your actions and that no one can create a problem in your life or make you feel a certain way without your permission. Instead of blaming outside circumstances, or even other people, for your mishaps in life, you will willingly take the blame. I believe that taking the blame doesn’t mean you’re weak — it means you’re strong and courageous enough to acknowledge and accept your faults, even when it’s a struggle.
The next time you complain about something and want to immediately blame it on another, take a moment and ask yourself these questions: What is the real issue at hand here? How can I accept personal responsibility in this situation? How can I be the victor here? Like all things worthwhile, this mindset will take time, practice, and patience. But have faith that it will be worth it — as the quote states above, “The moment you take responsibility for everything in your life is the moment you can change anything in your life.” Work towards becoming the victor each and every day and you can slowly leave your victim days behind you.
Happy being the victor,
Check out my new book, The Girl’s Guide to Loving Life, which is now available on Amazon.com!