The times in my life where I was gravitating towards communistic and socialistic ideologies have been when I was at my most weak and vulnerable. I went through loss and mistakes with business, I experienced trauma, and I was left with my own mess to clean up. In those moments, giving up and relying on someone or something else seemed like the best option. But at my core, I knew who I was: Bold, go-getting, and capable of rising to the occasion, albeit painful.
In those moments, character is built, new skills are built, and consciousness expands into a capacity to hold more and to be more. Without choosing to move through those moments of struggle to breakthrough, I would have deteriorated as a human and would not have been able to see another day. Death was a really appealing exit out of it all many times. But deep down, there was a will to live and a will to be more. As much as I wanted to give it up and throw in the towel, I wanted to climb way more. I went on food stamps, I cashed-in all of my stock that I had since I was a baby, and I did what I needed to do to get myself out of the mess I found myself in that was a result of my own poor decisions. I chose not to sit in and stew in my mess (well, at least not forever).
Leaving the nest is a part of life. Struggle is a part of life. When we f*ck up, we need to face the music, just like I had to the year I was sued by two clients, lost my entire business, wound up in the mental hospital for 5 days, and then emerged from that experience to have the best year of my life I have ever had in business. Without the depths, the highs and the pride you develop in yourself can’t exist.
We can turn to people for help in our times of struggle, but we can’t ask them to do it for us; We must ultimately do it ourselves. If you want to live a bold and full life, nobody can do it for you. To earn your own dignity means facing yourself, your mistakes, and your pains in order to rise. The moment you defer your power to an external entity is the moment your life ultimately ends.
To me, I see capitalism as the ultimate construct to challenge victim mentality. It requires us to take radical ownership, rather than relying on others to provide for us at all times (yet how awesome, there is still a safety net when we need to fall back on it). As hard as it can be at times, radical ownership is what earns you the most self respect. It doesn’t mean you don’t deserve help, it just means you are capable of picking yourself back up and moving forward, rather than continuing to stay in your victimized state and expecting others to do it all for you.
The times in my life when I was the biggest victim, was when I was in a shit-storm due to my own decisions. I wanted mom + dad and other people to bail me out. At times, I received help, such as a $2,000 loan from a good friend and former client to pay back some debts. But that money was paid back, in full. No person or organization truly grows when they receive a handout in their times of trouble, they grow when they receive HELP in their times of trouble; which gives them faith in humanity. Handouts enable people to make the same self-defeating decisions their whole life, while help enables them to change and build self respect.
For years after college, whenever I would go home, my dad would always slip me money as I was about to board the train to go back to college. It was fun for a while, until I realized that this was enabling me to not get my financial shit together. I was struggling financially and had the goal to financially stabilize myself. The extra money from my dad helped me, sure, until it didn’t; and then it enabled me. I had to cut-off the handouts in order to commit to my own journey of finding self-sufficiency and self respect within my financial situation. I definitely faltered: I went through a personal bankruptcy as that is how poorly I managed my money. But through all that pain, I LEARNED. I learned how to make money, and how to properly manage it, which has ultimately earned me more self-respect than if I were to have kept up with the easy way of accepting those handouts every time I left home.
When I was in those mind states of wanting something to bail me out, I was also my weakest and hated myself the most. The times when I respect myself the most is when I pick myself up and out of the hell-holes I fiund myself in due to my own mistakes and lack of experience. Life isn’t supposed to be easy, you’re not supposed to chain yourself to the same limiting stories you tell yourself about who you are and your life. Dignity is earned with every step you take towards the person you- and all of us – are capable of being.
Growing up, my Grandmother always used to call me a Hypochondriac. I was always assuming the role as a victim and found things to cry about. I didn’t understand what she meant then, but I sure do now. I have given up on myself so many times in my life, my only option was to be a victim, complain, and hope and pray other people would save me. But as I reflect, those are always the times when I feel the most empty, alone, sad, and helpless; and most importantly, pissed off and ashamed of myself. And the times I was most proud of myself, was when I told myself that enough was enough, and it was time to step up and stop being a victim because nothing good or progressive goes down in Victimville.
I may have fallen into the victim mentality, but there is a deeper purpose for all humans that experience this level of victim consciousness: You develop the hunger to expand your consciousness and to experience so much more in life. Every time we fall into the victim mentality, it’s like breaking down our muscles in the gym so they can rebuild bigger, stronger, and with less fat. Victim mentality breaks you down to bare bones SO YOU CAN build your mental muscles back up stronger than before. Being a victim serves a purpose, and I promise you, that purpose isn’t so that you stay there your whole life; it’s to show you what’s really possible when you develop your belief in YOU.
All humans, no matter the circumstances, are capable of emerging out of victimhood. I may not experience the same types of victimization as other people, but I have been raped, abused continuously for many years, sexually abused in school by my peers, and the list goes on and on. For years, I always thought I was meant to focus on the abuse I experienced and to fight abuse itself, but really, there is a gift hidden beneath the biggest piles of shit if we’re willing to look for it. No, I don’t believe people need to be abused to find what they are capable of, but if you are, it’s not the end of your life; it’s the beginning of discovering what’s really possible as you build yourself up into pure power. The truth is, the world is never going to be perfect and free from pain, struggle, abuse, and danger – at least not in our lifetime. I personally don’t think it will ever be, simply by examining human behavior.
Point being: Every time you fall into a victim mentality, whether it be at the hands of your own decisions or at the hands of another person/people’s actions, don’t allow yourself to become a shadow of a person by staying there. Seek help, but don’t let the help become a life sentence of enablement. Instead, allow it to be a crutch that heals you until the crutches can be passed to someone else. And most of all, always question the intentions of someone who tells you that you are a victim and who gives you the world in order to keep you there. They are not your friend: They are evil disguised as one.