When Victimhood Creeps In

Life can be hard. At times, we may feel like the cards are stacked against us. You’re allowed to feel this pain, but you’re not to wallow or get stuck in the setback. We all have obstacles. It’s how you deal with them that counts.

We can choose to walk in this world with a defeated heart or allow adversity to make us stronger. We all know people who blame, whine, or make excuses. Own what happens to you and don’t complain. If you’re struggling, set aside a small amount of time to feel the pain, but you must move on and decide not to stay in that state.

If you got a speeding ticket, the world isn’t out to get you. Chances are that you were just going too fast. If you didn’t get the job for which you interviewed, maybe you need to brush up on your skills; maybe they were looking for someone with more experience.

The decisions you make today are tomorrow’s realities. Own your decisions. You are where you are because of your mindset and choices.

I remember sitting at lunch with a friend who I hadn’t seen in a long time. He had struggled over the years with jobs, skipping from one to the next. Each time we’d talk, he’d complain about how bad the management was and how poorly he was treated. As we talked that afternoon, he told me he’d accepted a new position with a new company.

“How wonderful for you! Aren’t you excited about new beginnings?” I asked.

He was stoic. “I guess. I’m not too hopeful this will be any better than the jobs I had before.”

To me, that was the ultimate example of playing the victim. He had lost half a dozen jobs over ten years and every time, they were the bad guys. It was their fault he was unhappy. How could he possibly succeed when he saw himself as a victim even before his first day on the job? If he walked through those doors with a chip on his shoulder, he would get the same negative results he got on every other job. Greatness is earned; you get what you give. I suspect that even if he won the lottery he’d complain about being forced to decide where to deposit his winnings—checking or savings? He was sucking the life out of me.

Events, genes, and choices determine where you are in life. You may have been born into an abusive family, diagnosed with cancer, or hit by a car when you were walking on the sidewalk. Tragedies like this are beyond our control, but we have the power to choose how we react to them. Our choices make the difference in our lives.

We can be the passenger or sit in the driver’s seat. In my life, I choose to drive, to be accountable and responsible. (Also, driving is more fun!) It’s my responsibility to ensure I’m moving in the right direction. If something pulls me off course, it’s up to me to get back in my lane. I will try not to complain, but rather be grateful for the experience. I’ll search for what it taught me along the way so that I can do better the next time.

I try to imprint this on my three sons. My two oldest sons played tennis doubles for their high school team. During matches, I’d sit in the stands next to other parents. During one match, a parent was getting frustrated with the way her son was playing on a neighboring court. Apparently, he kept over hitting the ball, so it was going out. He and his doubles partner ended up losing the match.

When the match was over, the two boys came over to us on the bleachers. Her son’s doubles partner asked him why he’d played poorly that day. A variety of excuses came up: the sun in his eyes, his new shoes, and his racquet that needed restringing. His partner pointed out that he too had the sun in his eyes. He too had new shoes. He too had not had his racquet restrung in quite some time.

Finally, her son said, “I don’t know why! I just had a bad day, and then when I got frustrated, it just got worse!” There, he peeled the layers off. He stopped playing the victim card. If he had said that in the beginning instead of making excuses, it would have been so much more authentic and it would have given him the knowledge to adjust his mindset. When he continued to blame the sun, his shoes and his racquet, he was incapable of getting past his own victimhood because those were just excuses. Often, when we start to struggle, it’s very difficult to get back on track, especially when we mislabel our challenge. No one is always at the top of his game.

You don’t need excuses. Show up and get the job done. If you’re struggling, be honest and authentic. Don’t use the victim card, whine, or complain. If you’re reading this book, life is pretty good for you.

We do not always perform at the top of our game; that’s the time to identify the truthful reason why. Maybe that tennis player was just “off” that day; maybe a few bad shots killed his confidence. It happens. Don’t place blame where it doesn’t belong. You can’t solve the issue when you can’t name the trigger. Identify it. Own it. Learn from it.

You’ve got this:

It’s all about perspective. Life can happen to us or for us. “It’s a poor craftsman who blames his tools.”


DINA MAURO

Dina Mauro has worked in the technology industry for over twenty-five years, twenty with one of the largest IT companies in the world. Through her love for animals, Dina began rescuing dogs, volunteering, and, ultimately, writing.

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Dina is the author of A Dose of Tia: How a Woman and Her Rescued Dog Embraced Life Through Volunteering – and How You Can, Too. Initially, as a personal, heartfelt gift to her sons, but later published for the public, Dina went on to pen You’ve Got This! The Grad’s Guide to the Big, Rich, Magnificent Life You Deserve.

She also volunteers at Denver Pet Partners, Swedish Medical Center, and Children’s Hospital Colorado, along with her three sons.

Dina lives in Denver with her husband, Bob, and their three sons, Owen, Ethan, and Aiden.

ABOUT YOU'VE GOT THIS!

As a parent, author Dina Mauro was so hyper-focused on competing and comparing her children to other children that she almost lost sight of what they required to thrive. She realized that when they thrive, everything in their lives falls abundantly into place.

You’ve Got This! The Grad’s Guide to the Big, Rich, Magnificent Life You Deserve steers the reader through critical “markers” along life’s way: improving oneself, conquering obstacles, achieving goals, and cultivating relationships. Other stops on the journey include heading off to college, entering the work world, making decisions, managing technology, speaking in public, and many more.

You’ve Got This! is a long-overdue guidebook that illuminates forty-seven achievable strategies and real-world advice for not just living—but thriving! Now grads have the roadmap for facing challenges that left untouched can become big distractions to an exceptional life. 

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