I sometimes get accused of “victim blaming” - holding someone accountable for harm done to them by others - because I'm always telling people to take responsibility for their own lives.
This can seem to conflate with saying, “If something bad happens to you, it's your fault.”
What I'm actually saying is if something bad happens to you, it's on you to do something about it. No one else can rescue you.
But yes, I do take it even further than that.
OK, look, if you’re just living your life and walking through a car park and someone randomly assaults you, that’s bad luck. However, instances such as this are comparatively rare.
The more controversial thing I'm usually saying is that if you’re regularly suffering it's very unlikely that you're just having bad luck.
If you have a pattern of negative experiences in similar situations, it's near certainty that you are the cause and the creator of your suffering.
If, for example, you always have relationships with narcissists, it's statistically impossible for that to be bad luck. They make up less than 3% of the population. If you picked a few people randomly out of a public group it’s impossible that they’ll all have Narcissistic Personality Disorder. For a pattern to emerge in your relationships, you must somehow be attracted to (and attractive to) narcissists.
So it might sound like I'm “blaming” the victims, but what I'm really saying is the solution is in you because you're also the cause.
Society can't save you from a mistake that you keep making; from errors in your own personal psyche. Changes in political policies or workplace practices won’t reduce your risk if you’re the catalyst. You must save yourself.
The next time something bad happens to you, ask yourself: “Is this really a random one-time event that could happen to anyone, or is this part of a longer term pattern specific to my own history?”
Or, as my former coach Rich Litvin put it: “Is this a new problem, or an old problem?”
If it’s part of a pattern, the only place to find a solution is within you.
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