This is my word for 2017.
Too often I paint a mental picture of myself as the victim. I watch and react as things happen to me. I tell myself stories that take the responsibility off of myself and place it on anything else—people, situations, events.
Lately I’ve been meditating on that Byron Katie quote—“Everything happens for you, not to you.” I’ve been literally saying out loud to myself, “THIS IS HAPPENING FOR ME.” Even when I want to kick and scream because this is not what I want, it’s happening for me.
As I reflected on the victim mentality I often fall into, I spent a long time turning different antonyms over in my head. Powerful. Responsible. Strong. Confident. Resilient. Nothing resonated with was I was looking for until I thought about the idea of choice.
When you’re a victim, you don’t have a choice. Something is happening to you. Somebody else’s will is being imposed upon you. You’re a passive receiver of the actions of your life and you make yourself feel better by mentally sinking further into your helplessness.
This simple imperative—CHOOSE—is the word I settled upon because I can apply it in every situation. Feeling frustrated by another person’s actions? Choose to see where your responsibility lies. Feeling that self-loathing creeping up? Choose compassion. Feeling like things aren’t going your way? Choose gratitude. Feeling vulnerable? Choose joy. Feeling like someone has slighted you? Choose forgiveness. Feeling trapped in your circumstance? Choose self-discovery and patience. Feeling uncomfortable in that yoga pose? Choose to stay there and embrace the discomfort.
Living this way takes awareness. It takes recognition of unhealthy thought patterns. If you don’t know where to start with this, I recommend reading Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown, listening to this podcast by Rob Bell, or finding a cognitive-behavioral therapist.
I am not a victim. Every second of every day, I have a choice. And so, every day in 2017, I will remind myself of this.
(Disclosure: This post contains an affliate link.)