The human condition can be a very interesting experience. We often complain about it and we may see the world as bleak or grey. We count our victimizations and often forget how to see our blessings. Life is hard, and we don’t always get our fair share of things. When we’re at the bare mercy of luck to find peace in anything, it becomes difficult to see the positives that the world has to offer.
For me, this has been a recurrent experience that I constantly have to work on and have to dig myself out of. Sometimes, when I’m frustrated or just feel completely depleted, my view of the world narrows and I only see what isn’t going as expected. If this continues for hours or days, I notice that my whole persona change to anxious and irritable.
I have become a reflection of my own perspective of the world.
Eventually, this practice became comfortable. In blaming the world, I wouldn’t have to do much on my part to change anything — I just have to simply hold onto my view and point fingers. This can be sustainable if your life is stable and doesn’t have too many responsibilities.
However, while this is not productive or healthy in any way, it is sometimes tolerable to those around you. When stress is high, adversity is around every corner. You have to hoist more weight onto your shoulders, and you come to see that the victimization will only drown you within your own despair.
When living in a victimization state, nothing we do seems to matter. Regardless of how much we try to control all that is around us, the injustices simply seem to stay. Leading to our life almost feels meaningless and unfair. We avoid confrontation with the truth. We avoid the confrontation that the world could be a much better place if we simply took on that which is bestowed upon us.
As a teenager in the modern world, technological advances seemingly made our lives easier and more comfortable, and I didn’t have a reason to take on any responsibility.
Life was stable enough for me to cruise by. My survival and the survival of the lives around me did not depend much on my own input. This allowed me to stay rooted in my own turmoil because nothing pushed or pulled me toward reaching any higher potential.
As I reached young adulthood, my parents began to face a series of medical issues, and my practice of victimization no longer served me. Blaming the world didn’t help bring food to the table or assist with the bills. Becoming upset and angry with every injustice didn’t solve our problems or give us solutions.
Ruminating about everything and all the what if’s only became a toxic bubble of emotions stored in my mind and body. What did I learn when those first waves of adversity crashed? Taking responsibility for my life, of my actions, of my thoughts and behaviors, would ultimately provide me the power to face my issues head-on.
Jordan Peterson, author and professor at the University of Toronto, has shared the benefits of “taking on more responsibility.” He suggests how there is no limit to our human potential, and we’re often unaware of how much stronger we can really be.
Taking on more responsibility stresses our current potential. It stretches us to build more mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual resources to keep up with the demand. It’s a painful process, of course, but we have the moral obligation to do what is meaningful because meaningful action is what brings us closer to our purpose.
Dr. Peterson suggests that we all have basic human rights; where the right to live is the most valuable, but our rights are granted to facilitate our trajectory to what is most meaningful and purposeful. To do so, we have to take on further responsibility. By being responsible, we justify our needs and our rights. We fulfill our place in the world and help make the lives around us better.
As you can imagine, living and feeling like a victim can be very toxic. It can bring down our mental health and make us see the world bleaker than we would otherwise. Without responsibility, we will find ourselves having the time and space to ruminate about the past and worry about the future.
By taking on responsibility, we bring purpose to everything we do.
We begin to see the value that our thoughts and actions hold. By forcing us to take a step back, we realize that everything coming from us has a ripple effect on the greater world. This often becomes the catalyst for change because by no longer being the victim, we see that we hold the betterment of the world within our own hands.
As for me, I know that I wouldn’t be able to solve every problem that my family faced. I do know that I could make things a little better and bring meaning to their suffering. It pushed me to look beyond my old ways and sometimes take on more than I could chew.
With time, stretching myself has led me to become more than I previously imagined. Although I still struggle at times in trying not to fall into victimhood, living as if everything I do is meaningful raises me closer to my highest potential.
Peterson, J. B. (2021). Beyond order: 12 more rules for life. Toronto, Canada: Vintage.
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Finding My Way Out of my Own Mental Trap
I had been brought forth from holding onto negative emotions, following the ego, and living as a victim.