How are you, you frontline warrior, battling the world with a stethoscope and personal protective equipment? You’re doing a great job. And here’s a little distraction.
You remember the Beetles? Well you obviously don’t as they were long gone before you were even a twinkle in your mother’s eye but you know of them. Yes? Good. Well there are lines in one of their songs that say:
But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning ’round
A watcher. Recently I have found myself becoming a watcher, a watcher of people. I have found myself watching how people behave, how they are thinking and how they react. Did I miss my calling as a psychologist? I have also realised that with social media it is very possible to watch people via their posts and online behaviours. I have been surprised by what and how much people are prepared to put out there, so much so that I have had more than one “Really” moment.
So when a person who is part of a social circle I am loosely involved with crossed my path I was distracted, as this person’s behaviours have left me wide eyed and mouth open on more than one occasion.
Here’s the thing. This person defines their daily life by events that happen in the past, way, way back in the past. I have heard the events verbalised on a number of occasions to enable all to understand why their life is as it is today. Events used as a justification for errant behaviours and an excuse for what occasionally verges on antisocial behaviour.
“Poor, poor pitiful me” as Linda Rondstadt wrote however she was before your time too, so I guess I just wasted a good quote there. But understand this, the person’s approach to life is one of victimhood which for me doesn’t work and I won’t respond with the desired: “Oh, you poor thing” when the card is played.
Call me harsh. Call me unsympathetic. My response is: “Move on. Get over yourself”. Goodness, what an uncaring person you have for a father.
Now let me say, before I go any further, I don’t believe I’m uncaring. In fact I believe that I can be too caring and try too hard to save some people. I have no issue with those who have been hurt or damaged. Let’s get them the help they need, every time. My issue is with people who use this to define who they are and to illicit attention and justification in the present. Those who justify everything according to a wrong that happened years ago. And more (am I ranting?). Given half a chance they will suck the life from you and any group they are active in, demanding attention and succour over and over.
Self-pity will keep you immobilised so that your future is no different than your pastBeinhealth.com
Do you know a person like this?
As said, my response is: “Move on”. You need to move away from the so called defining moment. You need to let it go. Easier said than done, I know. I have my demons from years gone by and every so often one will catch me out, blindside me. But I refuse to play the game. Occasionally I will allow myself moments of self pity, maybe a day, but then I’m going on. I was blindsided and it darn well hurt, so 24 hours to recoup. Then, composure regained, senses refocused, move on. I may find myself facing the issue again and again but each time I tell myself: “Let it go, just let it go”. Maybe I will need to do this for several days and as I do so the power diminishes because I refuse the demon attention.
I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself,
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.D.H.Lawrence
You’ve heard the old Plains Indian story? The one told about the two dogs living in the man’s heart? Yes you have, because I’ve told you it. I knew you weren’t listening! So the Indian told how one of the dogs was a mean dog and one was an obedient happy animal. Then, over a period, the man noticed at one time or another one of the dogs was ruling his heart and he realised that it was the one he gave attention to that ruled his behaviours. Do you get it?
If we feed ourselves a story of being the victim then that’s what controls us and that’s how we go to the world. And if we feed ourselves a story of overcoming and becoming then, that’s what will happen. If I choose, and it is very much about a choice, to no longer be a victim then life awaits, relationships await, a future awaits. There exists the possibility of joy as opposed to soul draining pity. For all its sadness’s the world is still a wonderful place.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.Desiderata by Max Ehrmann
I want to repeat myself and say that there is a time when hurting people need to express themselves. To be given attention and taken seriously. Just don’t let them make that hurt the basis of their identity. Do not let life go on pause at that point. Help them move on, one small step at a time. Establish that the person, the event, the trauma will not beat them. Have what I call a “Screw You” moment. A defining moment when you look the cause of the pain in the eye and refuse to let it overwhelm you. Screw You cause of hurt. Get help. Find people to walk on with.
I have a friend via social media who has been a victim more than once and, in my mind, has every conceivable reason to play the victim card on a number of levels but they don’t. They choose to walk on everyday, and sometimes it’s a daily decision, to feed the right dog. They approach others with kindness and give expression to thoughts and feeling in writing. Inspiring!
So, we all have possible defining moments in our lives. You, me, our family and friends. But they are only defining if we permit them to be so. As I taught you, there’s always a choice, always. Not always easy, but it’s there. Please never allow yourself to walk away from a moment having labelled yourself “victim”. You’re too big and gutsy for that.
Yours, a fool on a hill,