We are all witnessing and perhaps exhibiting in our own behaviors an increasingly widespread victim narrative. It’s the sentiment of white privileged billionaires who happen to be running for President as well as people of multiple nationalities, faiths, genders and income levels who live in this insanely abundant nation.
As just one example, you do know that it’s virtually unaffordable to get a college education these days, right? Therefore, masses of our youth get left behind, unable to participate in our economy. “The rich get richer. The poor get poorer. The system is rigged. There is nothing I can do except express my anger and frustration.” End of story.
And yet, even without the once promised largesse of Bernie Sanders backed by the checkbook of the Federal Government to provide a free public higher education for everyone, practically anyone can go to their local public library right now, get on a provided laptop, strap on a pair of provided headphones and earn the equivalent of a college degree for free. Yes, I’m glossing over some details. And no, getting that virtual piece of degree paper is not ‘easy.’ It is very VERY hard. This is because doing so takes a lot of work over a sustained period of time. It requires behaving very differently from anyone else in one’s family or circle of friends. But the process itself is simple. And it is eminently achievable. (Oh, and if you don’t care about an actual degree, then how about the equivalent of a freakin’ MIT degree? Fine print: This one will cost a few thousand bucks.)
Instead, our growing credo appears to be, “I AM A VICTIM!” Yes, of course there are hundreds of thousands if not millions of true blue victims in our society – victims of horrific crimes, of unimaginable racism, of agonizing physical and verbal abuse, and of so much more.
But invariably, the folks who gain more inner peace, who become better versions of themselves, who treat others with more kindness and respect, and who rise above over time don’t remain in the land of victim mentality. They typically don’t ruminate about the past for anything other than inspiration for themselves and others. They don’t look for enemies or conspirators. They don’t continually make excuses. And they don’t give up.
Where they were born?
Who they were born to and how they were raised?
What has happened to them in their adult life?
That shitty boss? The fact they’ve had so many bosses?
That shitty company that treats their employees like shit?
Racism? Sexism? Any other “ism?”
When do we stop blaming and protesting? And when do we start thinking, behaving and acting differently in the world?
When do we increasingly focus on those elements we can control and stop whining about factors that are out of our control? Hint: most news stories that outrage you are likely focused on stuff you can’t do anything about.
When do we start living more in the world of cause and less in the world of effect, even if doing so is simply a figment of our imagination?
Because, please tell me the downside of having a vividly positive imagination…
I mean seriously, if a fucking BILLIONAIRE is whining about his alleged powerlessness versus a rigged ‘system,’ do the rest of us have any hope?
But hey, that’s so easy for me to say. After all, I’m a white man of privilege living smack in the middle of an enclave of multi-million dollar homes in Silicon Valley.
But then come to think of it, let me root back to my past:
Was I verbally abused by my Dad for many years as a kid? CHECK!
Was I endlessly teased in grade school and never felt like I fit in? CHECK!
Have I experienced immobilizing depressions? CHECK!
Did I live in a filthy, noisy, decrepit and cockroach infested shit hole for nearly a decade after college and drive in a rust box so hideous that women would literally run down the street like I was Godzilla? CHECK!
Did I suffer from chronic back pain for years so agonizing that all I could do after work was lie on the floor? CHECK!
All this while in the decade or so following graduation my college classmates were making two-to-three X more than me and getting married, having kids, yadda yadda yadda. CHECK!
Oh and speaking of getting married, my wife almost died last Summer. CHECK! (We’ll save the details for another article).
But please don’t play misty for me because I am grateful for all of it. After all, I am where I am because over time I recognized the victim routine wasn’t working for me. I needed to change my thinking patterns and become a hero for myself and those around me.
In fact, let me share how I choose to reframe my alleged past misfortunes. Given my life experience I now:
- Recognize the profound power of my thoughts.
- Behave with more empathy toward others.
- Am able to apply more concentrated focus when and where I need to.
- Have an increasingly improved self-concept.
- Am a better and more mindful parent.
- Am more resilient.
- Have more financial abundance.
Therefore the narrative I choose to embrace (again with that word “choose”…hmmm….) is that I am one of the luckiest guys in the world. And if you want to know the ‘why’ and ‘how’ behind this, then please delve into my previous articles where I talk about the power of our mindsets, our thoughts, our beliefs, our habits and our actions in the current moment. This work is not easy. It is VERY hard. But the process itself is simple. And it is eminently achievable.
I don’t have to tell you that giving your money and more importantly your time to help other people and causes is vital. But my belief is that every day and in so many little ways, acting as a more positive and empowered force for good is the best ‘thing’ you can do for you and for us and for the USA (if that’s where you happen to live). Got it, Donald?
End of rant.