JORGE RODRIGUES SIMÃO

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Self-Pity Costs Nothing

Self-pity

A great mystery to the successful of this world is why so many people choose to be victims - instead of empowering themselves to do something positive with their lives. In this day and age being a victim is even trendy. For instance, the media are always looking for victims to feature in their stories. In a society that actually promotes the victim mentality as acceptable - and in some cases, desirable - it takes a strong personality to be motivated and empowered enough to resist being a victim and instead make a positive difference in this world.

Of course, there are many true victims in this world. People who have been victimized by criminals, drunk drivers, and oppressive third-world government have the right to complain about their predicaments and demand justice. Nonetheless, at the risk of appearing callous, I have to say that even someone who has been genuinely victimized shouldn't continue to be a victim. After a certain point, there is no payoff. Humorist Josh Billings quipped, "Pity costs nothing, and it ain't worth nothing."

For many individuals it's all too easy and irresistible to assume the victim mentality. They look at themselves as victims when, if fact, they aren't. These individuals look at this world as a rip-off due to their position in life. Blame for their unhappiness and loneliness is directed at society, their parents, their country's economic state, or the world in general. The thing that is impressive about people with the victim mentality is how much energy they will put into shunning responsibility and complicating their lives.

Unfortunately, self-proclaimed victims seldom accomplish anything worthwhile - to say nothing of the disappointment and grief they put themselves through. Being a victim may make you feel secure and comfortable because it's familiar territory. There are no real payoffs, however.

If you are dealing with a troubled past and facing an uncertain future, victimhood is no way to get your life in order. You must face the consequences People with the victim mentality spend months, or even years, passing blame, and never get around to taking responsibility for actually solving their problems. They never experience happiness as long as they continue to see themselves as helpless victims of fate. As soon as they start enjoying life, they find reasons not to enjoy it. Their identity of victim has to be preserved at all “costs - even happiness. The role of victim looking to be victimized becomes their sole driving force in life.

In her book Fire four Shrink, Michele Wiener-Davis, a well-known professional therapist, focuses on the dangers of the victim mentality. She explains why therapy usually doesn't work for most people who see "shrinks." Wiener-Davis cites individuals who used to suffer from the victim mentality, but now have become winners by turning their lives around. She claims: "People who live their dreams are those who stop considering all the angles, weighing the pros and cons, and just do it. They've come to realize it's time to stop talking to their friends, families, or therapists, and begin living. Without action there is no change."

When you are feeling sorry for yourself, remember that self-pity costs nothing and it's worth just as much. Regardless of how much circumstances influence your life, you can always control how you react to them. Taking responsibility for your thoughts and actions will liberate you from the need to pass blame onto others, society, or the government.

The real rewards in life come from having made a significant difference in this world. No doubt this is much easier said than done. In many respects, however, you are probably limiting yourself in what you can accomplish in your lifetime. In short, it's not what life hands you - it's how you respond to it that counts. The more you look for opportunity in adversity, the more you will find it. Start capitalizing on all the opportunities that confront you and you won't have time to be a victim.

 

 

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