Victim Or Volunteer: Which Role Are You Playing?

As most of us have experienced, life has a way of bringing us a multitude of circumstance: some amazing, some heart-breaking and some, fairly neutral. Regardless of what circumstances may be in front of us, we ultimately have the choice with how we will approach and process them.

Do we choose to play the victim? Or, do we show up, ready for action, as a volunteer?

Signs that you may be playing “The Victim”: 

  1. You see every low moment of life as another personal attack, or thing you have to “get through.”
  2. Whenever something is wrong or missing from a situation it’s always someone else’s fault and never yours.
  3. You use phrases like: “if only,” “because of them/it,” and “why me?”
  4. You complain about what’s not working, what’s been hard, or how bad men/women/your job/traffic/your ex/the government/the economy/etc is.
  5. You tend to have a general look of disappointment, frustration or aggravation on your face throughout the day.

Signs that you may be showing up as “The Volunteer”: 

  1. You show up to any circumstance, no matter how amazing or horrific, and you know you get to choose the outcome.
  2. You know that everything that comes up is an opportunity for you to grow into the highest version of yourself.
  3. You diligently work to figure out what role you played in creating the circumstance,  so with that accountability, you can take action to rectify the situation from a place of empowerment.
  4. You rarely notice what’s not working in life, because you are too focused and excited about what is working.
  5. You tend to have a general look of joy that glows from deep within; even when facing the rough situations, you approach it with grace and ease.

Clearly defining each role above makes me cringe a little to think how much time I wasted playing The Victim.

I can openly admit that I used to be a total victim, especially when it came to arguments. I hated being wrong and avoided it at all costs.That usually looked like me blaming the other person for hurting my feelings, making sure they knew just how wrong they were, and NEVER letting them live it down. I must’ve been brutal to deal with. But, as someone who’s committed to elevating how I show up in life, I can’t really get away with that anymore. Quite honestly, I don’t even want to.  See, when we take the role of victim, we completely hand over control of our feelings to the other party involved, and I’m one for being able to respond to the situation as I feel I need to, not having to wait on someone else for my happiness and resolve.

The first step in moving from The Victim to The Volunteer is taking full responsibility for the situation; yes, even if you feel like you didn’t do anything. Even if you feel you were simply an “innocent bystander,” I challenge you to look a little deeper, and admit that you definitely played some sort of role in creating or escalating it. 

This could mean that you weren’t fully showing up emotionally, you unconsciously pushed the other person away, you weren’t being fully honest or living with true integrity, or you weren’t creating a safe space for the other person to have open communication with you. These are just a few examples to get your brain thinking, but there are hundreds more.

Second, to go even deeper, WHY did this situation come up for you? Every moment in life is one that is presented to you for your highest growth. What lesson can be learned here? What part of your deeper, darker self have you been avoiding looking further into?  If you find yourself saying “why does this always happen to me?” then the straight answer is: because you haven’t learned the lesson that’s there for you yet. I know, it’s hard to hear that all the “bad” things in life are actually directly tied to you; but, if you truly hear what I’m saying, it’s actually quite liberating.

Once you take full responsibility for your life, knowing that you volunteered for each and every situation you’ve experienced, you get to grow into the person you are meant to become. You get to step into your full power and decide how YOU would like to move forward. You get to create whatever outcome you want from a place of full accountability and integrity. And no, not everyone will show up exactly like this and it will be frustrating at times; but you’re not “every human.” You’re calling yourself into something greater; you’re demanding more from your life, right?

Bottom line is this:

Life will constantly be giving us circumstances, good and bad, and it is up to us to decide what we want to do with them.

Yes, it will be hard to break the old habits of playing The Victim, so we must constantly be aware and make adjustments as we go. So, next time you feel yourself ready to play The Victim, stop yourself. Trust enough to know that you CAN handle this as The Volunteer.  Know that you’re ready to really take your life to the next level and rise above the old, mediocre ways of living.  It will be uncomfortable at first but, like anything, will get easier with practice.

Guide to Inspired Life