I’m not being mean here. I’m not referring to a victim of crime or a victim of a road accident. You probably don’t need any help spotting one of those (if you were unfortunate enough to come across one) and I certainly am not telling you to avoid them, I’d very much encourage you to help them.
What I am talking about is people who live like ‘a victim’ i.e. they believe that things happen to them and there is nothing they can do about it. Maybe you know someone who is regularly heard saying “Why does this always happen to me?” and they then proceed to tell you about their arguments with shop assistants, how their friends and family are taking advantage of them, or complain about the weather / bureaucracy / politicians.
My friends brother pops into my mind his Facebook feed is all about his swollen knee, his rotten boss and his various illnesses/conditions or all the things that go wrong at his house, horrible spiders in the shed/huge holes in the garage roof/neighbours from Hell.
Now, don’t get me wrong it’s not that I don’t have any sympathy for the misfortunes he seems to attract (hold that thought!), and yet it is a shame, because here’s the thing – he is only a victim because he sees himself that way.
Don’t misunderstand me, I understand you can’t always choose what happens to you in life. But you DO always have a choice about how you frame it, what meaning you put against it and how you allow it to affect your thinking.
You see, my friends brother believes that he is powerless. These things keep happening TO him and he just has to cope with it. And of course, on one level, that IS true. However, and this is what you need to know and remember, unless and until someone takes TOTAL responsibility for their lives, then they are completely right, they ARE a victim and therefore they believe there IS nothing they can do about it.
I remember when I used to work as an employee, I found myself moving jobs every 2 years usually because I didn’t feel appreciated, or I felt like I didn’t fit in. It wasn’t until my friend pointed out to me that I was the common denominator in this scenario, that I started to understand that it might be something to do with me!
So let’s go back to my belief at the time about how I felt, notice my use of the word “feel” …that’s right – how “I felt”. Here’s something I learned that helped to take me from the place of being a victim…no one else can make you feel the way you feel, only you.
I learned that once you decide to take responsibility for everything in your life then you have a really good shot at changing it.
I agree you are not always in control of what happens. If it is raining, then it’s raining. You can’t just think away the rain. However, you CAN choose how you feel about. Instead of thinking ‘Bloody Hell it’s raining again and my hair is going to FRIZZ OUT by the time I get to my meeting’ you could think ‘Thank God it’s raining, the garden needs it and I love my natural hair J’
Now, I’m not being disingenuous. Some shit is hard to deal with and I know some people say “everything happens for a reason”. When my cousin Lynsey died at 27 and left behind her 5 year old son and a devastated family, someone said that to me and I can honestly say at the time I was so angry (this was pre any personal development too, so of course I blamed them for being a heartless idiot). However, I have learned that even in such terrible circumstances, there can be lessons to learn. In the case of Lynsey’s very short life, she taught me that you can chose 5 minutes of wonderful, or a lifetime of regret.
Some people don’t seem to want to sort it out or learn from a situation. Maybe it’s because they get a lot of attention by bemoaning their fate. They get people feeling sorry for them (or at least pretending to feel sorry for them). And for other people it’s great isn’t it? They can be all, “Oh poor you” whilst thinking, “Phew, glad that shit is happening to them not me”. Because in contrast their life doesn’t look so bad now!
However, if you (or someone you know) are being negative it affects your body chemistry. And the opposite is also true. There is some science here, behind the belief that optimistic people have stronger immune systems. And it also affects the people around you.
I’m sure you have had situations where an otherwise positive atmosphere was turned negative by one person, whose negativity then rubbed off on everyone else. This is no coincidence, it’s not just your thoughts that are affected. Pheromones given off by one person can affect the chemical reactions in others.
Look at anger. One slightly drunk bloke outside a pub bangs into another guy spilling his drink. Instead of apologising – cos he is drunk, he swears at the person he bumped into. The ‘victim’ then gets the red mist, and it all turns horrible from there. Negative emotions are catching. And choosing to NOT catch them is within your control, but it can be tiring to have to fight that fight on a regular basis.
A 2010 study conducted by Professor Segerstrom of the University of Kentucky was unique in that previous studies had compared ‘negative’ people to ‘positive’ people. And this gives no consideration to other potential factors – genetics, environment etc. What Segerstrom did was unique.
She compared 124 law students to THEMSELVES, by having them complete 5 questionnaires over the course of the year. To test immunity, they each had a dose of dead mumps virus or candida injected under their skin, which triggered a cellular response resulting in a small bump.
As the student’s optimism rose and fell, so did their cell immunity.
This approach also suggested that rather than focusing on getting rid of negative thoughts, therapy concentrating on increasing the levels of optimism might work better, both for physical and mental health.
What this experiment showed very clearly was that you can change your life (in this case your immunity) by what you choose to believe at any given moment. So, watch your thoughts!
As we discussed, it is easier to be positive and to choose to be positive, in the company of like-minded people. And that being the case, I would invite you to consider joining the WHY’s women community HERE or WHY’s men community HERE.
At the very least, avoid those negative people and if you think that might be YOU, then remember, “You can choose 5 Minutes of wonderful or a lifetime of regret”
Thank you Lynsey ♥