By Sheba Siddiqui
I am not a victim. I never have been and I never will be. No matter what happens to me in life. Really. The worst of fate may fall on me (hopefully not), but as long as I am breathing, I will survive it. Not only will I survive, but I know I will flourish to the best of my ability. It may take time, but I have no doubt in myself.
This is why I don’t get along with people who are victims, or as I call them, people who suffer from victimitis. These are people who think the world is doing them wrong, or that things never go their way or had something bad happen to them ten, twenty or thirty years ago but are still wallowing in it or blaming others for their loss. They go through life thinking that they are owed something…for whatever reason. We can choose to focus on what went wrong in our lives, hold grudges, be bitter and have anger consume every muscle in our bodies OR we can simply move on. Life is just too damn short and we are all just too damn blessed. Granted, it’s not always simple to move on and usually it doesn’t happen quickly or easily but who said life is easy or that good things come quickly?
Nothing comes easily. We have to work at everything we want. If I want inner peace, I need to start taking steps toward it. A good marriage? Start working on it. More money? Start budgeting accordingly. Lose weight? Figure out why food is filling that void. Peace with the in-laws? Communication with my partner. Better friends? Find the confidence to let the dead weight go.
Only WE have the power to change our lives. Sure, God plays a huge role in what we get out of life (atleast I think so), but even He says we need to work our butts off to get there (well maybe I’m paraphrasing a bit).
This is not to say that I don’t complain. Of course I complain! But I’m not a victim and I certainly try not to dwell. I’m not really a secretive/mysterious person. I think I used to be when I was younger. I was worried about people judging me or gossiping about me, etc. Now, truth be told, I don’t really care. I am who I am. Take it or leave it. I think I try my best to be a good person and I know where my heart and intention is when I am doing something. I will say that the things I complain about, I do take steps to try to resolve. Sometimes they’re the wrong steps, but that’s how I learn! If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.
I grew up in a community where EVERYTHING was supposed to be a secret. Your family problems, your failures, your financial troubles, hell even your extracurricular activities. I would meet a friend who I suspected was going through a rough time and when I asked her how she’s doing, I’d get “Oh everything is GREAT!” with a big smile. I don’t blame her. She was just a part of the machine. The giant Indo-Pak machine of “Life is Perfect”. I get it, you didn’t want the world knowing your business, but when did we get to a point where we have to fake it? Right about the time I turned 25, I was so over that. I don’t care what you do, where you go, what you wear, who you talk to, how you spend your free time or how many ex’s you have. I might not mesh with all your values and morals (just as you might not mesh with mine) but that doesn’t mean you have to change them or hide them because of me! And that certainly doesn’t give me a green light to gossip about you or judge you. I’m telling you, it’s the most freeing feeling in the world. To not feel the need to constantly judge others because I am so insecure about what people will think of me. That’s not to say that I don’t gossip. God knows I’m trying to curb that habit.
There is a term I like called self-sabotage. It’s when you screw things up for yourself either knowingly or sub-consciously. Like when you know what you need to do to get that incredible job offer, that perfect partner, get out of an unhealthy marriage, take control of your debts, etc., but you find a million reasons why you can’t right now…too busy, no time, can’t afford it, don’t want to be alone, etc. So you settle. You settle and you complain…and you suffer from victimitis. Well, like I said, life is too short.
I guess I’m speaking from experience when I write all of this. About two years ago, I had a friend that I grew up with give me a call out of the blue. It was so great to hear from her as I hadn’t spoken to her in years. She told me she was going through a really rough period and had been quite angry and depressed for some time. Then she thought of the most angry person she knew as a child and she thought of me. So she called me to see where my life was at and if I could give her any tips on how to handle her anger. I have to admit, she was 100% right. I was an incredibly angry child. I grew up in an unstable house with zero communication and no outlets for feelings. So I had no clue how to handle my problems, much less feel them.
When you spend twenty years like that, it tends to become a part of your personality. I was miserable. I had zero self-esteem, was insecure, judgmental and angry. Somewhere in my 20’s, I knew I didn’t want to spend the next 60 years feeling like that. I knew there had to be a better way. So I went searching for it…and I found it.
The process of how I found it is quite long winded and I don’t even know if the story would appeal to anyone, but regardless, I found a better way of living than being my miserable and angry self. No, I didn’t find it by getting married, or having a baby, etc. I don’t think you can find it through someone else. YOU have to put the work in. What happens if your marriage doesn’t work out? Where does that leave you? You have to work on it and find it on your own. I’m lucky that I found it before I met my husband. It made the search much easier when all I had to focus on was me! I think I have a long way to go, probably a lifetime, as I’m starting to realize, it really is all about the journey. A validation of sorts for me was when I told my husband about my phone call with my friend.
He immediately said “Really? You’re like the least angry person I know”. I use the word validation because he never knew me when I was angry and miserable Sheba. It’s an ode to how far I’ve come if the person who knows me best can say that. So I am living proof that it’s out there and if you work on it, you can change things. I think it’s a matter of faith, both in yourself and in God. And that happiness is possible…..that we all DESERVE to be happy. I sincerely believe we all deserve to be happy. God wouldn’t have put us here if He didn’t think so.
I guess all I’m saying is that there are ways to solve what you are feeling. Life is too short to be bitter or angry or unhappy when someone else succeeds and you don’t or if things don’t go according to how you’ve planned them. If you work hard at what you want, you WILL get it. I really believe that. It might not be in the time frame that you anticipated but it will come.
If you sit around complaining all the time, or blaming others for your misery, I believe that you get what you give. So whatever you put out into the universe, even when no one is looking, will be brought back onto you. It’s a lifelong challenge but I sincerely believe that if you don’t settle for anything and only ask for the best from yourself, then you will aim to please the most important person in your life. It’s sort of like oxygen mask theory. When a plane goes down, you are advised to put on your own mask before putting on those of your children or partner. You can’t help anyone until you help yourself. Same goes in life. Our opportunity to grow from within comes when life seems most challenging.
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