Are you a victim or a victor..?

Hospital-Bed

It might be a strange question to ask, but sometimes I think that I’m getting old and grumpy enough to ask it.  However, before we go too far, lets have some definitions from the wonderful Oxford English Dictionary

Victim – a person who has come to feel helpless and passive in the face of misfortune or ill-treatment.

Victor – a person who defeats an enemy or opponent in a battle, game, or other competition.

Lets hope we don’t have to face too many battles in life, but lets also hope that none of us feel helpless too. ‘What are you ranting on about Nigel?’ I hear you ask. Here we go…

Over the last few years I have listened to many people (also monitored social networking), and heard them moaning about their lives incessantly.  Victims appear everywhere complaining ‘oh, woe is me’ etc.  They seem to think that public announcemets will cure their ills.  Ok, we can all have a bad day once in a while, but does it need to go on, and on and on?  Are you wearing your depression as a badge of honour?  Are you after sympathy?  Let me tell you a little story about sympathy…

I have been an avid scholar of warfare since I was a boy, and I remember well a TV interview given by a WWII veteran.  The war in europe had ended and there was one hell of an aftermath to clean up. The soldier felt lost after seeing such horror, death and destruction.  He struggled to comprehend the reasoning for the war, and indeed his continuing existence.  He asked a fellow solider for sympathy and got this reply. ‘ If you want sympathy, its in the dictionary between sh*t and syphilis’.  That phrase has stayed with me for many year….

It’s easy to blame others for your situation or problems. At times, others do take a hand, or have an effect, but the blame game is not a good place to be.  Relationship issues cause much heartbreak, but we must look forward and not backwards in these cases. Yes, we may be in difficult positions which we might not like, but we have little choice but to deal with them.

Now don’t think that I’m an angel. I’ve had my bad days too, and I’ve learned some very hard lessons.  One particular occasion was when I lay in my hospital bed after losing my fingers and toes to frostbite.  I was in a pit of despair and ranting badly.  I needed a focus (which was to be climbing), but at that time I hadn’t identified the drive I needed.  People were worried about me, and I couldnt see what I was doing with my life.  One afternoon a nurse walked in to my room, gently closed the door and gave me a right old dressing down.  He told me to stop moaning and get on with life.  I didn’t like hearing it, but you know what, it was the best thing he ever did for me  From that day, I stood up and fought for myself.  I still do….

Later in my recovery, I bumped into a friend from work.  After the usual exchanges about my condition the conversation turned.  He said ‘why don’t you get off work on ill health?’  The subject had never entered my mind, but the thought of sitting on my backside for the rest of my life abhorred me.  What right did I have to be a victim for the rest of my days?  I did the opposite, returning to work after thirteen months off.  I’m still working to this day…

One thing is sure. All the medical and friendly help can only do so much.  Shoulders to cry on are fine, provided you dont lean on them too much.  Drugs and sympathy are also only part time cures.  I think the modern medical profession throws drugs out too easily in this world, where some good old fashioned ‘getting up off your arse’ is what is needed.

Remember, the only person that can turn from a victim into a victor is you..!

Am I being too stoic..?  Too much stiff upper lip..?  Perhaps, but my view on life is simple. We are dealt situations in our lives and we have to deal with them.  Many take nerve, some will inflict pain and people will be distressed, but welcome to the world.  We do not live in a fluffy existence of cotton wool, with the birds singing and the sun shining.  We cannot (and must not) shirk away from our responsibilities and we can only rely on others to a degree.  Stand on your own two feet (or what’s left of them in my case)…

Two great examples of victors are fellow speakers Richard McCann and Miles Hilton Barber. Both could so easily be victims, but they have risen above horrendous times in their lives and becom true victors. I’ll let their websites tell their own stories…

And to round off, here’s a wonderful story about Jessica Cox, a pilot who was born with no arms.  Don’t think she’s a victim..!

So far I’ve talked about my experiences, but the important person here is you…

If you feel like a victim, or you’re acting like one, how are you going to change in 2013..?

What steps are you going to take to become a victor..?

Whatever they are, the time to take them is now..!

If you’re having a bad day, consider the words of Christiaan Barnard – ‘Suffering isn’t ennobling, recovery is…’

Nuff said…

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