Taking Responsibility: Overcoming the Victim Mentality
It is so easy to be a victim, to be somebody who life just happens to. There you are, going about your day, and the world just slaps you down. It is so easy to blame, to find fault in the world around you. It’s easy to sit back, and talk about everything that’s wrong. Talk about how the world can be a better place, if only things were different. It’s easy to do nothing.
When I was smoking weed one of my favorite things to do was sit around with my friends and talk shit. You would talk about all of the travesties in the world; climate change, genocide, human trafficking, corporatized prisons. We talked for hours about how the world was a messed up and dangerous place. We would say how much we care about these issues and we would get so passionate in our hatred. We would blame everyone, the government, our parents, the “system.” Everyone but ourselves. Because we were perfect, of course. If only everyone thought like we did the world would be such a better place.
At the end of the day, would pat ourselves on the back, job well done. We would go to sleep confident that we were in good company. We would reaffirm our beliefs with each other, and convince ourselves that we were making a difference. That, just by thinking, we could change the world. That just by dreaming, we could craft a new future. We were lying to ourselves over and over. Because the thing is we didn’t really care about those issues. Sure, we thought that there was no reason for the pain and suffering of humanity. But, we never really did anything about it.
We used the misery of others to relate to each other.
If that’s not privilege, I don’t know what is.
We bonded over our shared ideals, that if only we had the power it would make a difference. We postponed our vision of the future indefinitely. I didn’t know it then, but I know now, in those days I was a victim. I convinced myself that there was nothing I could do. And, moreover, I felt good about it. I felt as though was enough just to sit back and complain. I thought “well, at least I’m not making it worse.” But I was, my inaction was perpetuating the very things that I spent so much energy rallying against.
One of the biggest changes I’ve ever made is committing to taking responsibility for everything. Really. Everything. I strive to take responsibility for my past, my relationships, my community, profession, political situation, spiritual beliefs, emotions, hopes and fears. I committed to making a difference.
By responsibility I don’t mean blame. Of course there are factors that are out of my control, it would be foolish for me to believe that I can handle everything. To me, responsibility means a willingness to engage and be present. It is a willingness to look at the situations that surround me an honest and effective manner. By taking responsibility I gave myself the power that I had been missing my entire life.
No longer can I complain. No longer can I feel as though I’m a boat, pushed around in a storm. By taking responsibility I have set upon a path of warriorship. Fighting everyday, not with violence, but with compassion. By taking responsibility I have decided not to run. I decided to stand, fight, and try to make a change. And I do so with the utmost humility.
It is so, so easy to sit back. It is much harder to march forward day after day.