I had a therapist once from NYC, Louisiana Zinn. We would have telephone sessions — this was in 2006 before live video technology 😉 and I was based in Miami. I started working with her after I had experienced a total life crisis personally and professionally (I’ll write about the crisis later — when I feel braver 😜 — it was pretty traumatic, dramatic, drawn out and completely self-created🤷🏻♀️ ).
Louisiana helped me with so many insights — one of which is this:
There are no victims, only volunteers.
I had spent so much time and energy focused externally. I was always worried about other people and what they thought and felt about me. I usually looked at situations from a place of powerlessness, like I was a helpless victim.
I blamed people around me for how I felt:
My friend made me feel bad. My boyfriend made me feel hurt. My mom made me angry.
There are so many flaws in this way of thinking and feeling, the most important of which is — thinking and acting like this gave away all my power!!! I took no responsibility for myself or my feelings.
It was easy for me to take the perspective of — if only she had invited me to the dinner I wouldn’t feel bad, if only he had considered my feelings before making that comment I wouldn’t be hurt, if only she had acknowledged my effort I wouldn’t be angry.
What Louisiana helped me to learn is the only person ever responsible for me and my feelings is ME.
Regardless of what other people feel, think, say and do — I get to CHOOSE what I feel, think, say and do. I get to CHOOSE and create my life, my perspective, my point of view. I get to choose whether I view something as and obstacle or as an opportunity.
I will always be a work in progress, and in the process of learning and growing. In my experience, these practices oftaking responsibility for my feelings and reframing challenging situations as opportunities are total game-changers.
What about you? Are you a victim? How do you handle difficult situations or feelings?