Central PA's LGBT News Source

Making Sense of Life

Are you a victim or a victor?

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Have you ever felt victimized? You may have been taken advantage of by someone you trusted, felt cheated out of an opportunity, or perhaps physically harmed in some way.

Unfortunately, at least one of these possible scenarios may seem all too familiar to you. Much of what happens in our lives is a direct result of our choices, though more often than not with most people, the choices are unconscious ones.

There’s another area that brings up the situation of looking like a victim. Scripture tells us that “time and unforeseen circumstances befall us all.” We all know that in spite of our best plans and actions, shit happens.

Right now in the world there are events occurring to concern or infuriate us perhaps more than any time in the past. Dwelling on the tragedies may cause us to fear the unknown to such an extent that it stops us from even leaving our homes without anxiety.

In spite of the unthinkable situations in the news, we’ve also repeatedly heard of communities which have been the target of a terrorist attack and have healed through their own tenacity. These people do not stop living their lives and refuse to live in fear. They continue to hold onto the ideals that define them individually and collectively.

It’s in group and person situations like these that we choose being the victor over being the victim. Even if we don’t have a clue how to move forward after a community, family, or personal challenge has occurred, the very fact that we are willing to get up the next morning and go about our life shows we possess the power to continue living, and to heal.

If you have moments of despair due to world or local conditions, immediately start to do something small to change your perception. One way is to stop the constant flow of news reports – often conflicting – flowing through your mobile device.

A 2017 study of high school students looked at how well the kids did solving math problems with their phones on their desks; their phones in their bags or pockets; or, putting the device in another room (Edutopia.com, 2018). Even if the students in the first two groups couldn’t hear their phones beeping or pinging, “the phone exerted a powerful influence, occupying mental space, even as they ignored it.” The best test scores were in the group where the phone was no where to be seen or heard.

The study goes on to report that just having our devices in our presence “might be triggering automatic attention,” a part of our brain “that unconsciously monitors for signs of critical importance.” What this does is create a “persistent sense of urgency.”

Our phones are stressing us out. After millennia of being aware of what’s right in front of us, we are suddenly requiring our brains to be attentive to … well … everything … all the time. The more we hear the worse we feel. This leads to a sense of despair, as there seems to be nothing we can do about much of anything. This feeling leaves of victimized, powerless, and without hope.

Decide what YOU want out of life, instead of being engrossed, as it’s so easy to do on social media and with the “tragedies” of others. Seriously, compared to world peace or your primary relationship, do you really give a rip about his broken fingernail or the fact that the barista misspelled her name on the latté cup?

Don’t let the media and the “sky is falling” mentality stop you from living. The uninformed and uneducated will continue to freak out; and, there are plenty of people who purposely attempt to mislead us for their own gain. Stand up for what you believe in. Refuse to set aside your principles, ethics, and morals. BE the type of person you say others should be.

I’m committed to stop blaming my problems on the actions or inactions of others. Will you join me in being a victor? Together, we CAN make the changes we see need to be made.

Terry is an author, speaker, licensed social worker and flight attendant. He is also the director of Spirit, Mind and Body Foundation (spiritmindbodyfoundation.org).