I Am Not a Victim

I am not a victim.

Most of my problems are self-inflicted, then blamed on external forces.  Most of my complaints are couched in cornucopias of blessings.  Most of the time, I see myself as the victim somehow.

As do you, I’d wager.

I don’t control everything, and in whatever I set my hand to, there will always be obstacles and circumstances that I can’t do anything about.  Some situations and circumstances we get to choose, and others we don’t.  What I always get to choose is my response and my attitude.  I often choose poorly.

As do you, I’d wager.

I like to talk about societal viewpoints and cultural narratives from time to time on this blog, and something that keeps catching my attention of late is this cultural identity of victimhood.  It’s pervasive, despite the fact that we are living in one of the most privileged places and times in all of history.  See, a lot of the time I think what we are doing is giving ourselves an excuse to give up, whether we realize it or not.  “The sun was in my eyes”, “He cheated”, “They just don’t like black people/short people/women/llama enthusiasts”, “I was robbed”, “I deserve better than this”.

Do you?  Do I?  Do we actually deserve better?

In an attempt to make this post slightly less offensive I’ll be speaking in the first person from here on out because frankly, I have this problem too.  The point, however, likely extends to everyone: the world doesn’t owe me anything.

Think about it.  I didn’t work to be born.  I didn’t pay for the opportunity.  I didn’t subcontract my parents to take care of me when I was a child.  What do I have that has not been given to me?




Don’t misunderstand me, I work, and I try my best to work hard.  There have been things I’ve strived for, trained for, pushed for, and then I’ve gotten some of those things, but the point is that none of that would be possible if I wasn’t given the gift of life.  None of that would have likely come to pass if I hadn’t been taught the value of hard work from someone who didn’t really stand to gain from it.  We use the phrase “given the opportunity”, and it’s true.  If not for opportunity being given to you, what do you have, really?

It’s a paradox but still true.  People who believe that everything they have has been a gift tend to work hard, provide for themselves and those who depend on them, and they are grateful.  Those who think they deserve everything because of their hard work are usually lazy, selfish, and frankly just a pain to be around.  They are takers because they don’t understand that what they’ve always received has been a gift.  The world does not owe me anything.

Let me ask you a question- one that I’ve often asked myself.  If you had a goal, but the odds were always going to be unfairly against you, would you still try to achieve it?  If you really wanted to break the record for the 100 meter dash, but you knew that every time you could run the race that the wind would be blowing hard against you, would you still train your hardest?  Would you feel like you had a good excuse to give up?  That you were a victim?

If you had a burning desire to be an All-American wrestler and to win the NCAA national championship at your weight class, but then you were born with only one leg, would you still try?




Anthony Robles did.  In 2011 Anthony Robles of Arizona State won the national title at 125 pounds.  He bested some of the best in the world, and he only had one leg.

Anthony Robles was born without a leg, but he clearly did not think that he was a victim.  Victims don’t train hard.  Victims don’t bleed and sweat and vomit, then continue pushing.  People who realize that even life itself is an unearned, divine gift… Well, look at the picture one more time.

I am not a victim.

Are you?


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