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Victim No More

Mar 7, 2008
"Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander." --Holocaust Museum, Washington, DC

"Neither a borrower nor a lender be." -The Bible

"Neither a victim nor a perpetrator be." -Kenrick Cleveland

If you've ever been to one of my seminars or been involved with my coaching club, you are probably familiar with my number one pet peeve: the victim mentality.

Do an internet search of the phrase 'victim no more'. You'll be shocked. There are workshops, and articles, a book, and online classes, to encourage you to be a victim no longer. There's a wallowing quality to being a victim. Oh woe is me.

How did we get to this point? How did it become almost fashionable to be victimized?

I've noticed a lot of groups choose victimization over empowerment. Not everyone in that group, but enough for it to be noticeable. People talk about coming from a country with horrible poverty or having been a decedent of slaves. I'm not trying to be difficult with any one group, but simply noticing how we all really have ourselves to rely on at this point. Several years ago Bill Cosby gave a speech in which he had something to say about victimhood. The occasion was the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education. This was the famous 'separate but equal' ruling. And in his speech, Mr. Cosby basically called on the black community to get it together and suggested that "the lower economic people are not holding up their end in this deal."

This speech was discussed back and forth as, on one hand, 'tough love' and on the other, a prominent, rich African-American who had risen to the very top and began to adopt 'the white man's' language in describing his 'former' community. I happen to think it's important to give a hand up, but in doing so, feel there is an expectation that with a hand up, eventually people will be 'up' and will continue the cycle of giving hands up.

There's also a point where people need to really get out of the negative cycles that have held them back. This is all people here, not just one ethnic group.

The minute we play a victim what we're really saying is that we have no way to change our lives. If we agree we've been victimized, then we're basically saying our destiny is outside of our own hands and the minute we come from that mindset then what we're trying to do is get the world to be responsible for us and that's not going to happen.

When we choose self control and dominion over victimhood, we open ourselves to many options previously unavailable to us.

Let us use the power of persuasion for ourselves and for the world. Let us decide that our thoughts matter, our lives matter and we simply can't depend on the rest of the world to save us. If we happen to get a hand up from time to time, great. Offer it in return wherever you can. But instead of waiting around for someone to act first, let's act first. Let's act first to save ourselves and the way we do that is by changing our thoughts such that we have responsibility.
About the Author
Kenrick Cleveland teaches techniques to earn the business of wealthy clients using persuasion. He runs public and private seminars and offers home study courses and coaching programs in persuasion techniques.
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