Over time I’ve realized my friend suffers from a victim mentality. I noticed it because I used to have it myself. But in the last few years I’ve realized a victim mentality costs me success, relationships and inner peace. A victim mentality means we consistently look for reasons life isn’t working out the way we want.
You know how the things we can't stand in other people are usually the things we dislike the most about ourselves? Yeah, this is one of those for me.
It's much harder to have an internal locus of control than an external one. My default line of thinking is usually defeatist. I have to stop myself and realize I am in control of a few things—namely myself.
Why do people play the victim? Because playing the victim means they don’t have to try, it means they don’t have to take responsibility, and often it means people will feel sorry for them and give them attention.
I wonder how many times I’ve reinforced the victim mentality in my own children and students. How many times have I made excuses for them to preserve their self-esteem, or to ease the pain of failure or disappointment. I need to remember it's doing more harm than good.
On golfing with Olympic Skater Scott Hamilton:
What Scott does, as a knee-jerk reaction, is to make a quick list of why the bad thing that happened could actually be good. Missing a shot means he learns something about his swing. Missing a shot is humbling, so he isn’t tempted to get arrogant. Missing a shot means he gets to teach the people around him how to keep a disciplined mind. In seeing the world this way, Scott continues to get better and better. It’s the mentality of a champion.
Teaching responsibility is challenging. I've long said the true right of passage to adulthood is to begin taking responsibility for yourself and actions. Mentality of a champion indeed.
Be sure to read Miller's whole post → Why Self Pity is Ruining Your Life