Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Victimization or Just Poor Choices?

I have this theory or perhaps perspective that I know for a fact I’m not alone in. It has to do with the fact that we are more in control of ourselves and our lives than we like to admit to. You see this is because it’s so much easier to blame a slew of poor choices on something like, oh say, a poor childhood, or something bad that happened to us rather than taking responsibility for our poor choices. Because then we have an excuse to continue making poor choices if we just aren’t ready to start making good choices. It’s not my fault.

For example, morbidly obese people that are confined to their bed, can’t work because they can’t move so they get on social security disability so you and I can pay for them to continue stuffing their faces. They claim they are just a victim of bad genes or some dramatic childhood experience or they are depressed. When in fact they have the power to stop eating after they’ve had enough. They have the choice to sit on the couch with a bag of chips or a bucket of chicken after dinner, or go out and take a walk or get on a bike while they watch T.V. They are only victims of their own poor choices, but they like it that way. The fact is they’ve chosen this lifestyle perhaps out of self-loathing or laziness. They aren’t unable to work. They shouldn’t get disability for this. I’d be more willing to pay for a life coach or therapist that will work with them on making better choices and changing their behaviors so they can be proud of who they are and get fulfillment from the good choices they make such as holding down a steady job, surrounding themselves with loving people rather than people that feed off of their bad choices, and just doing something worthwhile with their life.

The same goes for quitting smoking. While I won’t deny the addicting power of nicotine, I’ve known people that have smoked for years and years and years and quit cold turkey or in a short amount of time because they decided it was time. And you hear other stories like that all the time. But most people that say they can’t when they try, really haven’t made the choice to quit yet.

The past is the past. You can’t change the past and you aren’t trapped by your past. Your past doesn’t define your future. You may hate what happened to you, but you can’t change that, you can only control how you will face the future. You have to choose to let the past go. No one else can control your future, well unless you commit a crime and go to prison, but even prisoners made poor choices that led them there. They could have chosen differently.

Once people admit that they have control over their choices and take responsibility for them, then they can really live a fulfilling life. This is because they will change their perspective. They may still make poor choices from time to time, but by owning them, they can learn from them not to make the same mistakes in the future. There is no need to dwell on the bad stuff when you resolve to learn from it for the future.

I once believed that love was a feeling. Some other girls and I argued with 2 German boys about this. They said it was a choice and we said that’s crazy. It’s a feeling. That was when I was young and stupid. Thank goodness I didn’t get married back then. Sometime around the end of college or shortly after, it clicked. Love really is a choice. When I got married, I knew I wouldn’t always have the warm fuzzies for my husband because he’ll do things that make me mad or irritate me. But if I choose everyday to wake up and love him no matter what, I’ll forget next week or even the next day what he did that ticked me off. If I choose to wake up and love him every day, I’ll notice the little things he does around the house to show me he loves me, like when he cleans the kitchen for me, or washes my car, rather than dwell on the things he does that make me mad. When you make that choice every day, you feel love towards that person and it doesn’t seem like near as much work to keep the marriage together and happy. I didn’t marry my husband because I felt all warm and fuzzy about him, I chose to marry him after learning all about him and learning how we interact and how he is when times are difficult and learning how we work though problems together and learning that we enjoy spending time together. The warm fuzzies come every morning when I wake up next to him and every evening when he comes home from work. And because I chose him, I will choose to honor that commitment I made to him every day. I can control how I treat him and what I say to him. And if I let something unkind come out of my mouth, I can choose whether to woman up and apologize or just be a bitter bitch. But if I choose the latter, it will make his choice to love me that much more difficult. This can really apply to your relationships with friends and co-workers as well, just remove the warm fuzzies part.

Which leads me to the fact that we also choose our moods. I can choose to put on a happy face in spite of being miserable and after awhile of this, I’ll forget why I was so miserable. Or at least change my perspective towards what made me so miserable. For example, everyday millions and millions of us go to our jobs, and at any given time we all hate our job even if it’s only for one day or one hour out of every month. And we’ll complain to each other from time to time about something we hate about our jobs. But there are some that show up to work everyday and bitch and moan about how they hate their job. Sometimes they’ll add misery to their co-workers by droning on and on to them about how bad their life is and that they hate their job blah blah blah blah blah woe is me. But somehow these are the people that have been at the same job for many many years. Why is that? They choose to stay. They could choose to change their job situation by looking for another job. But they are comfortable. In fact if they’d change their perspective and just admit that they like the fact that they know their job and they like the fact that they don’t have to go out and interview for a new job and learn a new job, and they like the fact that they get paid for the work they do no matter how mind-numbing it may be. Work is work and it’s not necessarily supposed to be fun. Otherwise I think it would be called fun. But a attitude adjustment will keep it from being so miserable. It’s something we do to take responsibility for our own lives. And that should be fulfilling. Sometimes it will be stimulting, sometimes it won’t. I’ve also found in talking to many people over the years, that there are always going to be people no matter where you work or what you do, that are irritating or difficult. But try this perspective; they make the rest of us look really really good. So be thankful for the role they are playing at your job to help you. You can’t make their choices for them. They are in control of their destinies. But will probably find a way to blame you, God, or someone else for their misfortunes.

So the point being is victims are people who have had a crime committed against them. But just because some one had a crime committed against them, or had a bad childhood, that doesn’t make them a victim for life. They were only a victim at that point in time. They can choose to have a good life in spite of their past and they should because they will have a happier, more enjoyable life.


Anonymous said...

Nicotin or no nicotin, I think the choice to quit smoking is not always cut and dry. To smoke or to quit smoking??? For the kids that picked up a cig for the hell of it...sure. But It's alot deeper than that for alot of
Americans. Especially our veterans. Take for instance my step-dad. He flew choppers and Nam. Right after he got there, his co-pilot, was shot in the seat next to him. (just one of many things he witnessed) There are severe emotional traumas that lead people to find a crutch. To make the decisions they make. To cope instead of hanging themselves. Trauma would be better catagorized as Disease sometimes especially in cases like these. At least vets would be better able to find treatment that way. Sorry about the tangent. : ) LOL. I could go on and on about how our vets are not taken care of by our government, how they need more aid, benefits, how hard it is for them to be compensated for anything. Much less be shown the respect regular ole citezens should give them.

Presli's Mommy

Amber Sunshine said...

True that...well there is PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)which I think most people agree is very real and serious especially in vets returning from war. (Not in Chihuahas - but that was another conversation. Ask me about it sometime and I'll tell you) Maybe I'll write about that one day soon...Because that's one area I believe in spending tax dollars on. Veterans and their health and mental health because they've given and risked their lives to fight for our protection and freedom.