Sometimes, people suck. Sometimes, leaders are selfish. Sometimes, motives are impure. Sometimes, people don’t see you for what you’re worth. Sometimes things aren’t fair. I hate to be the one to break this harsh bit of news, but that’s just the way it is. You’re not special just because you found yourself in a bad situation. (I mean, I’m sure you are special... just for other reasons.) It happens to all of us at one point or another. That’s life! So, what do we do about it?
Unfortunately, a lot of the time we end up playing the victim. We start out feeling just a little bit bitter toward our situation and slightly resentful of the people causing it. And then that grows. And then it grows some more. And then we’re a lot bitter and very resentful! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this turn good people into miserable ones who end up making bad decisions that damage their reputations and get them demoted, fired, broken up with or otherwise shunned.
You might be thinking, “But Matt... I’m not playing the victim. I AM the victim!” And you very well might be! But, here’s the thing: In life, we choose how we’re going to respond to the crap we encounter. We choose how we deal with the bad situations we find ourselves in. We choose whether we’re going to be productive and rise above, or swim in the sewage rising around us. (That’s a disgusting, yet accurate image!) We aren’t responsible for the actions of others, but we are responsible for our own choices. You can choose to stop the cycle of victimization and make a change.
If you’re starting to experience a little bitterness or a resentful attitude toward your current situation, figure out why now and decide how to deal with it. Don’t wait until later when you’re so overwhelmed with anger and a sense of injustice that you’re not able to respond rationally. I’ve been there in both personal and professional situations and I’ve said and done things I look back on with regret. In hindsight, I can see that while I was often dealing with unfortunate situations I wasn’t responsible for, I was at fault for not taking responsibility for my choice to live in the bitterness that took over. I could have made other, better choices, but I didn’t.
So, if the bitterness and resentfulness is there, even just a little bit, it might just be #Time2MoveOn! (If not from your situation, at least from whatever it is in you that is causing you to feel that way.)
One last thing... when you have these experiences (and you will), you can also choose not to pass these bad experiences on to others in the future. People have a strange, ingrained tendency to put others through the trials and difficulties we’ve been through even though we know how awful they were. (“I went through it, so you should have to as well!”) Most of the time, this isn’t a conscious thing. (Sometimes it is. Those people are the worst.) I know multiple people who were treated horribly in a job, were hurt deeply and are now, years later, treating people working for them the same way they were treated. Don’t do that! Be better! Choose to learn from the mistakes of others and grow. Otherwise, someday someone working for you just might read this and realize it might be #Time2MoveOn!