Some choices that we make are easy to claim as our own: "I chose to give my lunch to a homeless person on the train," "I chose to go to [insert acclaimed school here]," "I'll take the halibut, please." Some choices that we make aren't as fun to claim, yet we still know that they were ours: "I wasn't happy in that relationship, so I left," "I'm sorry, I can't go to the movies tonight, I'm broke," "I'll take the extra-large sized fries, please."
And some choices that we make, we may not even register as choices at all.
Everything in life is a choice, even:
It is very easy to feel the victim or consequence of life. "James broke up with me, so of course I'm lonely, angry, and am going to eat an entire gallon of ice cream immediately." "Life keeps hitting me with blow after blow; I lost my job, my car broke down, my wife left. Of course I'm unhappy." "I started smoking before I knew what the long-term consequences would be; now I'm addicted and I just can't quit." Thing after thing happen to us, and we have no control, right? Let's reconsider.
Sure, "life" hands us things that we do not choose. Certain things are out of our control. But guess where those things all land? In the past. "My partner left" in the past; "I lost my job" in the past. So why do we claim helplessness instead of claiming our power to shape our future?
It can certainly feel easier to our ego to claim being the victim of circumstance, instead of claiming the burden of having to take responsibility for our present and future. It takes far less emotional and physical energy to be the victim of circumstance, and far more to take ownership of the situation and move forward. This can be very emotionally taxing, and yet it's the work that must be done to make significant progress of any kind in this world.
It is only once we have accepted the truth of the current state of affairs, deeply understood our contribution to it, that we can better our lives and those around us. We will be stuck in a rut if we refuse to acknowledge our contributions.
It is so easy to unconsciously make the choice of being victim of circumstance, and often the choice is made around the areas in our lives where we most desperately need change. We all do it, and with more conscious awareness, we can get better at spotting and naming it, and begin to radically alter and take the reigns of our lives.
Where are you holding on to the victim mentality? How can you accept your contribution, and make a positive change in your self, your community, your world?