Monday, July 10, 2017

Be the Victor, Not the Victim

When it comes to your health issues, are you a victor or a victim?  Take a look at the characteristics below and decide which one you most identify with.

Characteristics of a Victim
  • The world is against me
  • Any challenge is an unsurmountable obstacle
  • I blame others for my failures
  • I have a negative attitude
  • I make excuses
  • I am pessimistic
  • I see only closed doors
  • I give up quickly if I don't succeed

Characteristics of a Victor
  • I can be of service to the world
  • I consider an obstacle an opportunity
  • I am responsible for my successes and failures
  • I have a positive attitude
  • I see only open doors
  • I am optimistic
  • I don't give up until I succeed

Me:  A Bit of Both, and Working To Improve

As a very young child, I started learning self-care.  I also watched doctors and nurses carefully as they performed health maintenance and various procedures.  I learned all I could about the medical world as it pertained to me.  That part was pretty cool.  It helped lessen my fear of those surroundings that were a regular part of my life.  The part that wasn't so cool was that my parents tended to shelter me, so:
  • I can't do anything for myself (other than medical stuff, of course--that I knew)
  • I can't get involved with family activities because I might get hurt
  • I can't participate in gym class because I might get hurt, look foolish
  • I can't go play with other kids because I don't fit in, I'm too slow
My anger grew as I got a little older.  I hated having health issues, being stared at, being pitied, being different, being limited, being afraid to do things on my own, my parents' coddling, not hanging out with my peers, but I was a good girl so I never let anyone see that side of me.  I kept it inside.  When I hit my teens, things changed.  All that bottled up anger came flooding out:
  • I resent my family
  • I resent the world
  • I resent my peers for being healthy
  • I resent myself for being different, broken
  • I can't get involved in community
  • I can't learn to drive because I might get into an accident
  • I can't get involved in school activities because I don't fit in, I'm not good enough
  • I can't make really close friends because I "need" to keep so much of myself private
  • I will never have a boyfriend because I'm broken, too different, ugly
  • I resent myself for thinking all of these things but I can't help it
Luckily, things started turning around when I was about 15.  Otherwise, I am convinced I wouldn't be here.  I was deeply troubled and something had to give.  Someone would have to intervene and help me, or I would be dead.  Someone intervened.  It totally changed my life.
  • I joined school clubs
  • I volunteered at school and in the community
  • I made friends
  • Fell in love
  • I traveled without my parents
  • I went to school dances, including the prom
  • I went to school dressed as a Smurf for Halloween (I kid you not.  I would never have even thought of doing such a thing before.)
  • I got more involved at home, doing more chores on the family farm
  • I went for walks and participated in other activities with my family
Since then there have been ups and downs.  
  • Indecision regarding college studies.  (I'm just now figuring out what I really want and love to do) 
  • Insecurities about abilities related to work
  • Some pretty cool jobs, and the realization that I prefer working from home.  Not to avoid work, but to enhance it.  Make it work for me.
  • Marriage
  • More travel
  • More volunteering
  • More friends
  • A couple major moves to other parts of the country 
  • Old and new health issues to deal with
But basically, things are going well.

How to Be a Victor
  • Remember that any change begins with you
  • Have healthy conversations with family and friends about issues that are bothering you
  • Pick one thing in your life that you will start to react differently, more positively, to
  • Put visual reminders up around your home or in your car to help you think more positively
  • Learn to say "I'm sorry," or "I'm wrong," --and mean it--when you mess up
  • Say "I can" or "I will"
  • Contact local organizations to see if they would be interested in scheduling you to speak at one of their meetings or other events on a subject related to your health issues (advocacy, awareness)
  • Make a list of things you would love to try, then set out to do them  (a new hobby, vacation destination, sport, activity, class, social club, or maybe living on your own)
  • Surround yourself with positive people who believe in your abilities
  • Talk to your doctor about any questions or concerns you have

As you begin to change your mindset from victim to victor, you will experience ups and downs, but keep at it.  It takes time to adopt the attitude of a victor, but you'll get there.  Step by step, you'll make the changes necessary to live a happier, more positive life.

So, do you identify more with the victor or the victim?  If you exhibit more victim-like characteristics, what can you do to make a more positive shift?  


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