I grew up as a chronic victim. I had so many reasons to be angry, or so I convinced myself to believe. I changed schools every single year after kindergarten. My parents were always arguing, and they would enlist my brother and I as witnesses and referees of their fights, asking who was right. If we chose the wrong parent (my dad), then things would be taken away from us. I could concentrate on the negative and fill pages of reasons why I grew up angry.
I grew up under the strict control of my mom, and like a chained elephant, even though I had the power to break free, I allowed myself to be tied to an invisible pole, even in my young adult life. Thus, I didn't pursue many of my dreams. I didn't make decisions that I should have. Instead, I decided to simply blame, shed tears, and wallow in victimhood. I couldn't have a conversation with my mom without ever bringing up the subject of her mistakes and how she hurt me.
Only when I succumbed to panic attacks, got divorced, lost my most precious job, and more, was I forced to view my past from another angle. Victimhood wasn't helping me to breathe any better, and it wasn't helping me to stop my depression. I then felt forced to become responsible; it was the only way out. That seemed unfair to me at the time, but it worked.
Since then, I've slowly learned to take responsibility for my actions as well as my inactions. It hasn't been easy at all, but taking responsibility has empowered me. It has become the mast of my boat to take action. There's so much we can do for our lives to free ourselves from pain.
Is there such thing as victimhood?
It seems so, as we witness serious trauma in the news. We hear or watch personal stories of tragedy that sound like coming from a book of terror. However, as much as we could find it unfair, victimhood has an expiration date, after which we're capable of directing our attitude and response to life. Or we can ignore the expiration date like an old package of raw meat and thereby perpetuate the hurt to ourselves even more than our predators.
From the holocaust survivors to people with physical limitations, we can witness examples of people who, instead of sinking in eternal victimhood, have become sources of inspiration, courage, forgiveness, compassion, and resilience to others.
Throughout history these victors have proven that we can become responsible for our lives in spite of profound pain and come out triumphant and successful. This is true love for the self. They have turned victimhood into victory, surviving into thriving.
What does responsibility mean?
Among the different definitions, we can say it is the duty to deal with something, the state of being accountable, or the opportunity or ability to act independently and make decisions without authorization.
Some people today are confused between guilt and responsibility, perhaps because of a lack of the correct expression of responsibility.
I see guilt as the physical and moral punishment received for your mistakes when mistakes are not seen as lessons to learn from but as failings to be ashamed of. Guilt serves a negative purpose, which is to hurt.
A very thin line differentiates it from responsibility, which I see as the personal decision to deal with the consequences of ones actions with the ultimate goal of growth. I see responsibility as what we know as Karma.
The lack of responsibility affects societies all over the world. It stops progress, initiates conflict, and triggers wars everywhere. People point fingers at others to blame instead of taking responsibility for past actions or inactions.
Taking responsibility is true power and a potent source of courage that transforms lives.
How to become responsible and take your power back?
Ask yourself the following questions:
Observe your current situation; where are your challenges?
What changes are required to occur for the situation to improve?
If you were to be responsible and see that you're the only person in charge of your attitude and your current actions, what's stopping you?
I promise you that taking responsibility for your action or lack of action is the greatest source of courage and positive energy you need to make any change a reality in your life and embrace happiness.