Article Written by Randi G. Fine
There are no victims, only volunteers. ~Dr. Phil McGraw
I was watching the Dr. Phil Show the other day and heard him say, “There are no victims, only volunteers” to one of his guests, a man who insisted on portraying himself as a victim of his situation.
Dr. Phil’s quote does not imply that being victimized is a choice or something we volunteer for. We can be, and most of us have been, victimized many ways in our lives; emotionally, mentally, physically, financially, spiritually. What Dr. Phil means is that our response to what happens to us is voluntary.
There is a huge difference between being victimized against our will, and choosing to respond to the victimization by living the rest of our lives with a victim mentality. When hardship strikes it is entirely optional whether to proceed as thriving survivors or miserable martyrs. One empowers us, the other dis-empowers us.
To be empowered is to be hopeful, progressive, transformative, resilient, solution oriented, and happy. To be dis-empowered is to be hopeless, stagnant, disengaged, weak, needy, and unhappy. Those who choose dis-empowerment have no one to blame for their undesirable status except themselves.
I do not mean to suggest that it is easy to rise above adversity, setbacks, tragedy. Only that the efforts put toward it are worth it. And once we rise above our pain, our life becomes easier. Contrarily, succumbing to the negative outcome of whatever happens to us may be easy at first, but highly destructive in the long run. We can either choose to reap the benefits of our undertaking or be handicapped by our neglect.
Often, after tragedy strikes, we find ourselves stuck in a bewildered, stagnant emotional state. The amount of time we remain in this state of mind is not set; it is different for each of us. Before deciding how to move forward we need time to process our shock and grieve our losses. Once done we are faced with choices on how to deal with residual feelings. Sometimes we need professional help, sometimes we don’t.
Sometimes the pain in our lives is so deep and has been there so long, we don’t know where to begin. We feel emotionally paralyzed. Choosing our position as victor or victim from a healthy minded standpoint may be impossible. That inability to make clear, healthy choices for ourselves signals the need for the compassionate intervention of a mental health professional, trusted clergy, or legitimate spiritual healer.
Ultimately we “volunteer” or choose whether to rise above our problems, or wallow in the misery of them. We choose whether to take responsibility for our lives or blame others. We decide if we want to be characterized by our fortitude or by our weakness.
There is no clear-cut path through life. Whatever our destiny we all have free-will. Life is all about making personal choices. Choose wisely.