Even if it is to choose not to choose (and live "by default"), we always have a choice. And everything that "happens" in our personal reality is the consequence of the choices we have made. (Consequence means with a sequence, one thing following another.)
The boy died because he chose to risk taking a swim in a place he knew was considered dangerous. He had a choice of walking several blocks to a safe swimming pool, or jumping into a river that was closer. Perhaps he chose to get a thrill from jumping off a bridge into the water, or maybe he just chose the most convenient place to cool off on a hot day. It was an unfortunate choice, but it was his own choice that created the circumstances that led to his own death.
When we see people - or ourselves - as victims of circumstances beyond control, that really means we don't believe we have the ability to make our own choices, or that we don't want to accept responsibility for our own choices. It seems easier to put the blame on someone or something outside ourselves, than to acknowledge that the consequences were caused by our own choices.
Even when something seems to hit us out of the blue, we still had a choice about being there or not being there, or doing or not doing the thing which put us in a position for something to "happen" to us.
It seems harsh to say that "there are no victims", but I am coming to believe that this is true. When bad things happen, we really need to ask ourselves what we did to contribute to the occurrence, to take responsibility for the consequences of our choices.
We don't need to judge ourselves or feel guilty. We only need to see that we may have made a misjudgment - a mistake - and learn why we would want to choose differently the next time. Our mistakes are our feedback, our way to learn which choices are good for us and which choices are bad for us.
There is a game young people used to play, a game called "truth or consequences". In the game of Life, the consequences of our choices are what tell us the truth about how well we have chosen. Happy consequences come from wise choices. When unhappy consequences involve some pain or suffering, we tend to pay more attention to the truth they are telling us - that we have not chosen wisely this time. But we can always choose more wisely next time, and when we do, that previous pain will have served its purpose in helping us learn what not to choose.
If we choose to believe that those painful consequences of our own choices are instead the result of someone else's choices, then we are seeing them as having power over us and seeing ourselves as helpless "victims" who have no power to choose happiness for ourselves. This is not true. If we are "victims" of any kind, we are only the victims of our own poor choices.
There is always the temptation to avoid taking responsibility for any painful consequences of our choices. When we don't acknowledge our mistakes, we fail to see the lessons we could learn from them. Then we do not learn how to choose wisely and avoid the painful mistakes, so we will likely choose to repeat the mistakes and bring that same pain again and again. Avoiding responsibility for the consequences of our own mistakes will not help us avoid the consequences of repeating the same mistakes. It only helps to keep us stuck in a feedback loop of poor choices and their painful consequences.
By allowing ourselves to make mistakes and accepting the consequences of our choices, we are not victims, but people empowered to make choices - and to learn how to make better choices that lead to happiness instead of unhappiness.
My life's determined by decisions.
Some bring pain, and need revisions.
- Michael Star ©2002
We have a choice: to make Life seem
a nightmare, or a happy dream.
- Michael Star ©2002
©1999,2002 by Michael Star
Musings on Immunity