WordWatch: “...MADE me feel...” (Part 3)

by Scott Noelle

(Cont’d from Part 1 and Part 2)

The abuse of power throughout history has given power a bad reputation, which has led to the tacit glorification of the victim status.

Society deems you righteous and beyond reproach if you can prove you’re a victim of people or forces beyond your control. You’ve been led to believe that it’s better to be perceived as a powerless victim of circumstances because that means you’re not “the bad guy.”*

When you strike “made me feel” from your vocabulary it’s hard to maintain a victim status, leaving you with only yourself to blame for your problems.

But this choice between being the bad guy (self-blame) and being the victim (other-blame) is a false dichotomy. You could ditch the blame game altogether and accept authentic responsibility for your present experience: “I have the power to choose my response to any life condition, including others’ behavior.” That’s true response-ability.

Instead of looking for someone or something to blame for how you feel, practicing authentic responsibility focuses on what you can do to make yourself feel better.

And 99% of the time you CAN choose a perspective or interpretation that feels better.

YOU make it so.

* This is not to say that no one is ever violated (i.e., “victimized”), but even then, holding on to the victim label is optional.

Originally published on 2013-04-12
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