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I feel like a victim today, but I know better

This past weekend, I experienced an unprecedented variety of unanticipated inconveniences.

The amount of time I lost almost made my blood boil.

I had to reassign so many tasks that I am now in the unenviable position of managing twice my already abnormal workload.

I woke up this morning thinking thoughts like “I should have never promised A that I would do B” and “I should have never told X that I would attend Y.”

Deep down inside I truly felt like a victim.

I felt like I was being forced to do all sorts of things that I didn’t want to do.

I felt completely powerless.

I felt as if I was being pushed around by a universe that refused to take it easy on me.

That’s how I FELT!

Here’s what I KNOW:

I am always creating my own reality even when I don’t feel excited about the consequences of my choices.

My ability to say “I don’t like this” or “this doesn’t feel good” does not make me a victim.

The process of manifesting and maintaining the things that are important to me involves creative challenges that sometimes seem to push me to the brink of frailty. Taking ownership of these creative challenges are part of parcel of what it means to be a self-determined being.

Buying a new car means dealing with the DMV. Choosing to travel means sorting out the nuances of flight details. Being part of a business means actually doing something that improves the business. Having a job means showing up for the job AND doing some work. Having successful relationships means making time for the people I love even when it’s easier to make excuses. Wanting good health means investing valuable energy into making healthy decisions even though it’s ten times more convenient to just grab a whopper with cheese and call it a night. Having dreams means getting out of bed and getting physically involved with those dreams.

It’s so easy to say things like “I have to eat this”, “I have to go here”, “I have to stand in this stupid line”, “I have to stay up late”, “I have to make time for that”, “I have to get this done by that deadline”, and “I have to cancel this”, and “I have to sacrifice that”, but such talk is all a distraction from the simple fact that we are choosing, in every moment, how we want to live.

We decide what’s necessary. We choose what’s important. We make up the rules. We are the glue that holds our commitments together. If we really wanted to, there’s nothing that stops any of us from saying “to hell” with all of the things we allegedly have to do.

“I have to do this” really means “I am determined to do this, regardless of the inconveniences involved, because I am THAT passionate about the results I freely decided I’m going to create.”

C.S. Lewis defined “Faith” as the art of holding on to what we know to be true in spite of our shifting moods.

Sometimes my mood says to me “T.K. life is being so hard on you right now.”

I’m in touch with my mood cycles enough to know that “this too shall pass.”

But until then, it feels good to know that my faith will see me through.

If you’re in a similar place, I hope the same is also true for you.

Cheers to knowing that it’s always up to you,

T.K. Coleman

Rights versus Rewards

In a recent post, Don’t Be Fooled By Pity, I wrote:

Self-pity is like fool’s gold. It attracts a lot of attention, but ultimately, you can’t cash it in. If you have plans to sit around feeling sorry for yourself, don’t expect a big payoff. No one has ever created a life of beauty or bliss through brooding and sulking. Pity has no power. Only self-determination has power.

In response to the above statement, a reader emailed me the following question (re-posted here with their permission):

But don’t I have the right to feel sorry for myself if that’s what I feel like doing?

I am reposting my answer to them as today’s blog post since I think it raises an important distinction between rights and rewards.

You absolutely have the right to feel sorry for yourself if that’s what you choose to do.

You also have the right to invest in Fool’s gold. That doesn’t make it a profitable deal.

The right to do something doesn’t mean it’s going to be rewarding.

Successful people don’t just think about the rights they have. They also think about the results they want.

I have the right to complain out loud about whatever I want, whenever I want, however I want, and to whomever I want.

If I exercise that right without discernment and discretion, however, it will not only have an adverse effect on my relationships with others, but it will significantly undermine my personal efforts to create the kinds of results that matter most to me.

There is very little need, in today’s world, for you to defend your right to feel sorry for yourself. As things now stand, no one is going to fine you or imprison you for being “guilty” of self-pity.

Your desires, goals, and dreams, on the other hand, are very much in need of defending. Because if you don’t fight for the things you really want, then the unharnessed forces of time, chance, and circumstance will rob you of every opportunity. This isn’t because the universe is evil and just waiting for the right moment to crush you. It’s because life is reciprocal and you never get more out of it than what you put into it.

I do not condemn any emotional state. Whatever you feel, in my humble opinion, is intrinsically valid. Dwelling in a state of self-pity isn’t wrong.

Just remember: unless feeling sorry for yourself is your ultimate goal, self-pity is not a rewarding long-term investment.

Cheers,

T.K.

P.S. If you feel “stuck” in a state of self-pity and you want out, I encourage you to share this need with any trustworthy friends or family members who will listen. Talk to a professional (even if you can’t afford to hire them) and get their advice on how you can cope with your situation given the unique circumstances and conditions of your life.

Don’t be fooled by pity

pity

“Pity is the most agreeable feeling among those who have little pride and no prospects of great conquests.” -Friedrich Nietzsche 

If you choose to identify yourself as a victim, people will feel sorry for you (if you’re lucky), but they wont feel sorry enough.

No matter how much sympathy others may display for your sorrows, they will always return, in the end, to a place of focusing on their own problems and their own dreams.

Self-pity is like fool’s gold. it attracts a lot of attention, but ultimately, you can’t cash it in.

It reminds me of the toy money my parents would let me play with when I was a kid. It felt good to wallow around in it for awhile, but it had no real purchasing power. The moment I tried to do something practical with it, I immediately discovered how useless it was.

if you have plans to sit around feeling sorry for yourself, don’t expect a big payoff.

No one has ever created a life of beauty or bliss through brooding and sulking.

Pity has no power. Only self-determination has power.

Don’t be pitiful. Be powerful.

Cheers,

T.K.

 

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