Ladylikeness 9: poor, unfortunate soul


"Ladies want victory, not victimhood." 

Now I shall regale you with my sad tale of woe.  

"Thin privilege" is sitting on chairs without worrying they'll break. I learned the definition this week from a woman on Twitter, who shamed her relatives and friends for not considering her obesity when purchasing their furniture.

Sadly, her weight problem isn't her more destructive issue. She's chosen to be a victim and, to keep her reality going, there must always be someone else or something else to blame. (Victims can't be victims without oppressors oppressing.) 

She's not alone, though.

We're living in a culture thirsty for the prize of "Biggest Victim." Even if we don't toss around ridiculous words like thin privilege, race privilege, gender privilege, married privilege (I kid not), or ancestral privilege (don't ask), it's difficult not to be affected by the mindset.

Surrounded on all sides by the popularity of victimization, if we're not careful, we'll be drawn to joining in on the moaning over life's unfairness because it's easy and the cool thing to do. 

Focusing on how "things should be different," especially when taking no responsibility or action to change them, focuses our minds too much on problems. Eventually, we're too obsessed with all the wrongness we're enduring, which is always the fault of someone else, to even see our blessings. Or enjoy them.

This is no recipe for a happy life.

You can either be a victim or you can be happy. You can't be both. 

That's why Ladies want victory.

They know self-respect and self-worth are crucial for happiness. Overcoming a challenge, even if it takes everything we've got, especially when it takes everything we've got, brings self-satisfaction.

I don't know how else to say it: winning feels good. 

How To Put This Truth Into Action

Out of the five words in this Ladylikeness truth, "want" may be the most important. Whatever your struggle, and it's undeniably difficult because life hands out no other kind, you have to want victory more than anything. Otherwise, it will never come.

To avoid the victim mindset or lifestyle, here are a few ways I've seen truly empowered women become victorious over the challenges - some debilitating - in their life:

- Their self-pity was short-lived.
I've seen this from women in the midst of horrifying challenges, things like continual health issues, loss of loved ones, financial ruin, broken marriages, broken hearts. They had good reason to cry. And did, of course. There's nothing wrong with that. Being overwhelmed, however, was a momentary reaction or part of their healing process, not their new standard operating procedure. Before long, they once again returned to appreciating their blessings. 

- They never compare their lives with others.
Everyone has problems. And everyone has blessings. All happening at different times and in different ways and to different degrees. Because of this, they avoided comparing their lives to others. They knew it would always be 1) pointless, 2) negative, and 3) inaccurate. 

- Their go-to response to problems is being solution-minded. 
Dr. Carolyn Leaf in Switch On Your Brain illustrates the power we have to rewire our brain's pathways, giving us authority over our thoughts and our emotions. 
Whether these victorious women knew this or not, I don't know. But I have seen them put this truth into practice. Before new problems or challenges settled in, these women were already brainstorming on solutions.
This isn't a technique about exhausting ourselves or feeling the weight of all problems on our shoulders. It's about training our minds with a healthier response.  

- They seek objectivity and perspective. 
To be victory-minded, we need friends who will call us on our junk. Friendships that join in our whining, add to our complaining, or validate our self-pity, do not have our best interests at heart. 
Victory-minded women tend to seek out other victory-minded women as friends. Together, they offer each other wise counsel, loving instruction, and the objective perspective to "see the other side of the story." 

- They want more out of life than what victimhood will bring.
Pity is an energy suck. It drains us of our fight. And it also takes a ridiculous amount of time. With all that energy going toward self-pity, we have very little left over to put into positive activities, like learning new hobbies, taking classes, making new friends, enjoying our family, exploring new opportunities, relishing new experiences, starting new endeavors, developing skills for job growth, or simply enjoying the small pleasures in everyday life. A mind focused on the negative will always sabotage itself. 

In the end, we have one story in this life to tell. We can be the victim of life and our circumstances, which probably will garner some pity but not much else. Or we can be victorious. In that story, we get to be the heroine (dressed in a cape or spandex, I'll let you choose) who persevered, overcame, and basked in the glory of winning in the end. 

Now that's a great story. Even if you chose spandex.