Victim, think of a victim, think of what it means to be victimized, think like a victim - why? You can be a victim of circumstance. You can be in the wrong place at the wrong time. There are so many opportunities to fall into the victim-role, but you do have a choice. You can be victim or victor - how would you like to see yourself?

Sometimes it is so hard to rise above the victim-status; it can be so much easier to go with the flow of life. Picture victims of war, poverty, ignorance, abuse, disease, and the list can go on and on.

How many times have you wondered why - why is he or she or they or we unable to fight back? For some individuals the option may not be there, but how many times is it there and ignored because of inertia, lack of motivation, or just the ability to think, look or reason outside the status quo?

When a person does not feel well; it is imperative to figure out what the problem is, for this knowledge frees the individual to seek aid and answers.

When too involved, in playing the victim-role, the person cannot locate the necessary tools to assist extraction from this very ugly, hopefully uncomfortable, position. Everyone needs an advocate and your No. 1 sponsor is YOU!

You need to embrace this idea by embracing yourself! This can be a difficult undertaking for many; for the concept of self-love may be quite foreign.

People need to realize their own potential and worth in order to respect themselves and be willing to admit, "I can love you, because I know how to love myself."

This may be a painful journey for many because it can be confusing and viewed as contradictory in terms of how, "I was brought up."

Letting go of the notion that you cannot love and appreciate yourself requires time and effort, the individual needs to understand how this makes him or her stronger, easier to love, and more able to love others.

This is one of the greatest undertakings, with a pay-off that cannot be compared to any other in the amount of joy and happiness that awaits the "voyager" when the task is complete.

Think about this the next time you feel "victimized." And don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

• Julio L. Benezra, M.S.Ed., LPC, practices in Ahwatukee. Reach him at (480) 282-3807 or visit www.juliobenezra.com.

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