Join Fred Kofman for an in-depth discussion in this video Moving to response-ability, part of Powerless to Powerful: Taking Control.
- The story of the victim is always justifying. It's true bad things happen to us all the time. They happen to us as individuals. They happen to us as teams. They happen to us as families. They happen to us as communities. And whenever something bad happens, the first reaction is to look for who to blame or what to blame, and to feel that it's not our fault, that we're okay. As I said, the price of that is that we don't see the opportunities to respond to the situation.
We don't see how we were a part of creating the situation, how we participated in the problem. But if we don't see ourselves as part of the problem, we cannot see ourselves as part of the solution. I didn't break it, I don't have to fix it. Well, that's a bad way to think. That's a poor way to think because, even though you didn't break it, you may be suffering from it. So anything that causes suffering, it's your problem in the sense that you can take responsibility to do something about it.
The victim precisely avoids responsibility. But what the victim doesn't see is that he or she are also avoiding response-ability. They are giving away their ability to respond to the situation. It's not a matter of blaming the victim. You're not responsible for what happens to you. Sometimes you are, but most of the time you are not. But you are able to respond to what happens to you.
That's the shift away from the victim. So take a look around you. Take a listen around you, and notice how prevalent the story of the victim is. With this distinction, you can go to your next meeting and every time that some goes wrong, listen to how people explain things. Turn on the news and listen for the explanation of bad things. Look at the newspaper. Listen to politicians. Look at the TV. Hear what your family members are saying. I guarantee once you start, you'll go crazy.
You'll say, "Oh, my God, this is like fish in the water." Nobody realizes that we live in an ocean of victimhood. We are all telling stories of being victims and we don't notice because we're all doing it. But now you'll stop. Now you'll start looking at that. And when you look at it from the outside, you'll freak out. So please relax, you know, we've been doing it for thousands of years and we survived as humanity, but we've survived miserably. It's so much better. It can be so much better if we stop the story and we start telling a different one.
But before we change, we must be aware of the way things are. So just take some time and listen for the story of the victim.