We seem to live in a world where we can’t fathom why we face hardship and adversity. We don’t seem to grasp the reality of things not going our way. You see it everywhere. Facebook and Instagram is littered with posts stating “why me?” or “I can’t believe this is happening to me!” and “Got screwed over.. AGAIN.” I understand that there are legitimate circumstances where it is hard and out of the blue but we as a culture have adopted this “poor me” mentality as if we are faultless and blameless on all counts. As a result, we have made taking responsibility for our actions and accepting the consequences a foreign and uncommon concept. We have become ungrateful complainers whose identity is wrapped up in how unfairly we have been treated and how we don’t deserve it. This type of mentality will ensure you never grow as person. How can we learn from our mistakes if we think we have never made any. We become stunted in our progression as people, complacent in our complaints and comfortable as we continue to be void of any wrong doing. I want to share with you a couple very true, very real examples so you can understand where I am coming from.
**names have been changed**
Tim decided to leave his wife and 2 children for a life revolving around using and selling drugs. As a result, he was court-ordered to pay child support. Along with scarcely seeing his children once very few years during a 15 year span, he never paid child support and never had to due to his income not being monitored. That was until Tim become permanantly disabled and was unable to continue collecting revenue in that manner. His disability rendered him unable to sell drugs or get a regular job in order to support himself. He had to rely on his government issued social security check as well as his state funded disability check.
Can you guess what happened? Child support was now taken out of his checks. Half of his already low monthly income was now being garnished and given to his ex-wife. It was enough to live on but there was no room for anything above the bare minimum needed to survive. He wasn’t able to make money any other way. The ex-wife did not need the child support now because she had already paid for everything for the two children who were now adults. “This is not fair!” He called the ex-wife insisting she forgive the debt and allow him to receive his full payment. The ex-wife was willing to forgive any interest accrued but planned on collecting the principle balance that she was rightfully owed. He became enraged at how insenstive she could be to his current circumstance and let her know how he felt about her. The interest was then not forgiven. He bitterly managed to maintian a simple way of life without any extravagant financial need. He soon grasped that this was a consequence of his actions and no longer allowed his anger to have a hold on him. He has faithfully paid his dues for last 5+ years. He now was invited to go overseas to Norway. You can’t get a passport when you owe child support. Now, since he has been abiding by his payments, he expects that he should be able to go and his ex-wife should make arrangements with him personaly and forgive his debt. He still fails to see that there are lasting consequences to his actions. He doesn’t deserve to get a passport.
Disclaimer: This example is my own experience. I’m not sharing this with you to make myself look good or imply that I am better in any way.
I attended a Christian School from Kindergarten to 12th grade. Upon entering high school, I had to sign a contract stating I would follow the rules put in place if I wished to continue my secondary education. My status as a student was determined by my ability to abide by the terms of the contract I had signed. During my senior year, I knowingly broke the rules and the school had found out. Since I did not abide by the terms of the contract, the contract then was null and void resulting in my expulsion. Remember, I had grown up in that school since I was 5 years old. It was 3 months before my high school graduation. My cap and gown were in my locker. I was furious. This was a Christian school. How could they punish me. How was kicking me out in any way a representation of Jesus and His love? How could they call themselves Christians. Here I was at my worst, my actions a clear cry for help and all they did was abandon me. Being a Christian under their tutelage, how could I accept anything they taught as truth seeing how they really apply the teachings, which at the time seemed like they didn’t apply anything at all.
Why was this happening to me? This consumed me for a couple of years. I was embittered and completely turned off by any form of Christianity. I let this mentality take over until one day it hit me. I can’t remember how it happened or who guided me to it but I realized what I was doing and how it was destroying me and any chance I had at a life free from the chains of victimhood I had locked myself up in. I made the choice to sign that contract. I made the choice to break that contract. Being expelled was a consequence I wasn’t willing to accept as a result of my own actions, that I had been refusing to take responsibility for.
Of course, there are other countless examples that may apply. The main objective of this is to help you understand that we are not blameless, and we are most likely at fault for our circumstances. I know that is hard to hear. As I write it, it is difficult to swallow. Living a life that revolves around what has been done to you is no life at all. You are giving power to outside circumstances instead of taking your life into your own hands.
Reflect on your life. Identify where you went wrong. Learn from it. Grow. Don’t make the same mistake again. Adapt. Take responsibility. Accept the consequences so the lesson can be learned. Don’t be embittered and miss out on the rest of your life.