Friday, November 6, 2015

Don't Let Being a Victim Define You

I run a Meetup group, and I'll never forget this one woman who was a member for a brief time. She attended an event I had posted, a Friday night dinner at a local tapas restaurant. She was a nice enough lady -- very friendly and personable  -- but less than five minutes after meeting me and the other members, she bluntly announced that she was widowed. Twice. Her unhappiness about that was understandably obvious, but you could practically feel a mist of awkwardness descend over the table. 

I was a little taken aback because it's the sort of thing that might come up in conversation later in the evening once you've gotten to know everyone a bit better. Naturally, everyone said they were sorry to hear about her misfortune, and then she proceeded to tell us the details about each husband's ages and how long each marriage lasted. I felt that she could have benefited from a support group for widowers, if she didn't already belong to one. 

Now, there isn't anything wrong with divulging something sad about your life. But it can define you if you're doing it immediately and constantly with every new person that you meet. While I certainly felt sympathy for this woman and her situation, I've since learned from other people in mutual Meetup groups that this is a detail about her life that she divulges right away when meeting new people. As a result, she has made her victimization her calling card and the one thing that defines her out of everything else about her. Everyone knows her as the woman who tells people right away that two husbands died on her. It has become her identity. Sadly, I don't remember what she said she did for a living or anything else about her or her life -- this revelation overshadowed everything else, and that's a shame. 

She left the group the following day after the dinner -- not because of anything anyone said to her, but because she felt her age was going to be a problem, even though she was sitting right next to a woman that said she was the same age. 

I hope I don't sound like I'm unsympathetic towards anyone who went through something tough or emotionally traumatizing. Everyone has had something tragic happen in their lives, or to someone close to them. However, it may not be the best thing to bring up right away when first getting to know people. If it's your calling card, especially when you meet people for the first time, then no one is going to remember anything else about you.

Conversely, I have a current member in my group who's living with a chronic illness, but I didn't learn about it until she had attended a few events. What I do know about her (and remember most even after she revealed her illness) is that she's a talented artist, and I admired the fact that she was able to not let her disease affect the way other people perceive her.

The law of attraction teaches us that thoughts, feelings, and beliefs become things, and that the more attention you give to something and ruminate on it the more it expands and sticks around. It's one of the reasons why I don't pay much attention to having been laid off, being single, and anything else someone might see as potentially negative...nor do I make any of it my calling card. 

There's way more to you than anything bad that may have happened in your past. Don't let it define you. 

1 comment:

  1. It is sad that some women felt worthless just because they are not in a romantic relationship.


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