I’ve been wondering for awhile what makes some people fall into a Victim Mentality, what makes them acquire a personality that truly believes that their life and what happens to them, is out of their control (and sometimes, the control of God).
I love taking my son over to spend time with his grandparents, I get time to talk to my dad about life, ideas, and just enjoy his and my mom’s presence. Maybe its being 6 months pregnant, but its nice to be able to go over there, and relax and be taken care of with my mom creating homemade sodas for us, slushies with her margarita machine, ordering pizzas, or the latest new treat this last weekend… White Chocolate Covered Popcorn (so amazingly delicious).
I wanted to ask my dad his thoughts on why a person might fall into a victim mentality way of thinking, we’ve both seen horrible things happen in our family and even in our own circumstances, but even in facing certain horrible life situations where we both at that time, were a victims, neither of us have fallen into victimization. My dad emits a usually positive and joyful attitude, he has his faults too of course, but overall he takes life’s phases and trials with a grain of salt.
He also has a progressive bone disease that he found out about when I was 9 called osteoporosis, where he has to be extremely careful – any slip or minor fall could end him up in a wheel chair for the rest of his life. His attitude in the midst of this is choosing positivity. Aside from avoiding truly dangerous situations (water parks), he doesn’t let this hold him back. He goes to our beautiful downtown riverwalk and power walks super fast – enjoying the beautiful view and the broken and diseased body that he can still do many things with. His walking efforts have even paid off, his bone density has actually increased (which is something not usually seen with osteoporosis). Its amazing what the mind can achieve over the body when it truly embraces the joy of being alive, and of understanding that we have more control over how we decide to live than we would think to imagine.
He told me when talking this last weekend, about another person who had a major accident that resulted in them having to live life differently. This man’s accident left him having excruciating pain in his body for the rest of his life, to make matters worse, the doctors told him that he had to be very careful, or any sudden movement could be the end for him.
He finally went to a doctor that really looked at his spine… he found that it was fused together, and had very little to no chance of breaking suddenly. The doctor’s attitude was matter of fact,
“Well you can decide that you can live with this, or you can decide that you can’t….”
He gave him the permission to do as much as he could do physically, in tolerating the pain… exercising, being active, and getting out were allowed. This simple attitude of “Well… its your choice how you deal with this,” changed this man immediately, awakening his consciousness of his control over his own life. He had slowly hobbled in to the office, walking crippled and bent over – afraid that any step might be the end of his fragile spine… but he literally ran, leaping out of this doctor’s office, his pain momentarily suspended in the pure joy he felt in realizing he was free.
My dad reiterated that “some people make it, and some people just don’t.” Not everyone is capable of finding joy in their pain or hardships. It is unnatural and goes against what even our brain chemicals would have us do (be overcome in depression). But having joy in hardships is biblical, we are called to it… Jesus even said at one point, that all the things he was saying to us was SO THAT we could have a joy like His (John 15:11). I’m in a great Bible study this fall that has breeched the beautiful topic of having joy amidst our hardships or crises.
I want to be known as someone who has a lot of joy… to me, if I can leave that impression on others as a “legacy,” I’ll feel like my life was lived well… I’ll feel like I achieved the greatest success.