One late afternoon as I was talking to a friend on the phone, I could hear myself talking. This might sound strange, but I don’t know that I had really listened to myself during a phone conversation. And I hated what I heard. There I was telling my friend once again about some of the traumas that I had experienced and why because of those experiences I was behaving the way I was and had been behaving for years. As I continued to talk, I was becoming increasingly sickened by what I was hearing and gracefully ended the conversation.
The Moment I Decided That I Didn’t Want to Be a Victim
I believe it was the very next day, as I was listening to a sermon by Joyce Meyer, that I heard, “your experiences may give you a reason to be a victim, it does not give you the right.”
From that moment, I decided that I would no longer be a victim ever again; I would be a victor and I would be victorious. That decision was one of the biggest decisions that I ever made in my life, because I knew in heart and spirit, that this moment was different. My mindset had changed.
Moments of Victory
In the past, I would experience moments of being “victorious” throughout my life, but my pattern was to shift back to being a “victim” when other bad situations would happen. I would shift from one state of mind to the next and along the way justify dysfunctional behaviors as I attempted to adjust to the experiences as they were happening to me and around me.
One summer night in July, I am talking with my mom and we are laughing and having fun together. I feel loved. I am victorious.
Hours later, I am holding my mother while she is having a stroke. A couple days later, she dies. I feel unloved and alone. I am a victim.
It’s August and I have arrived for my first year at college after receiving a full scholarship, my new life has begun. I am hopeful. I am victorious.
Weeks later, my uncle dies from brain and lung cancer. My Uncle June is dead. I am afraid. I am a victim.
It’s a cold but sunny day in January, and I am telling my brother that I just got engaged to the true love of my life. I am beginning a new chapter in my life. I am victorious.
Weeks later, I receive a phone call that my brother has died by suicide. I am numb. I am a victim.
I wish I could say that this list captures all the traumas that I have experienced, unfortunately, it does not. But after that day, I realized that I could no longer give myself permission to be a victim.
I WANTED TO BE A VICTOR. I WANTED TO BE VICTORIOUS.
I thought about all this recently while reading, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, by Stephen R. Covey in the section, Habit 1: Be Proactive. Covey shares how Viktor Frankl “decided within himself” how he was going to be affected by the Nazi camp that imprisoned him and the captors that were fighting to take his freedom.
Even though Frankl’s’ captors “had more liberty, more options to choose from in their environment, he had more freedom, more internal power to exercise his options” and he eventually helped others “find meaning in their suffering and dignity in their prison existence.” He continues to say that Frankl “used the human endowment of self-awareness to discover a fundamental principle about the nature of man: Between stimulus and response, man has the freedom to choose.”
The Choice to Live a Victorious Life
I realized that I have chosen to live a victorious life. I have learned how to tap into my internal powers and found meaning in my suffering and dignity in my past and current existence. I have also learned how to use my freedom to choose how I respond to situations and circumstances and choose victory. I now use my past experiences as motivation to be the best that I can be in all aspects of my life I have discovered that it is because of my experiences, that I have developed the amazing ability to set and achieve any goal that I set for myself and overcome any obstacle that tries to impede me. As Covey states, “our most difficult experiences become the crucibles that forge our character and develop the internal powers, the freedom to handle difficult circumstances in the future and to inspire others to do so as well.”
I am who I am today because of my suffering and I truly love the person that I have become. I am not in any way perfect, but I am perfect for my purpose. Each day, I use my internal power to exercise my options. And though my amazing work, I help others develop their internal power, find meaning in their suffering, and dignity in their existence. I am today who I have chosen to be and I decide how I live my life.
I HAVE DECIDED TO BE VICTORIOUS. I AM A VICTOR; I AM NOT A VICTIM.
Opinions expressed in this blog belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan or its subsidiaries and affiliates.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Angela Moore