Could Someone Please Wheel Me Out a Tiny Violin? (A Wake Up Call for When You’re Playing the Victim)

It’s Monday morning. I’m in my brand new apartment and I haven’t had hot water, heating or a functioning hob since Thursday. The boiler’s broken. The brand. New. Boiler. The best part of Saturday was spent on the phone trying to sort out my predicament. And I had to do that standing outside the building because, as it turns out, the walls of this beautiful Victorian ex-mental health hospital are so thick that there’s almost no signal to be found. I’m told this is not an emergency and I’ll have to wait until Monday. At least.

I go right into my poor little Leah place.

I’m cold. I’m miserable. I have no internet. How can I work like this? I can’t even heat the soup up I made the day before the boiler stopped working. Why won’t anyone help? Nobody likes me. Everybody hates me. I think I’ll go and eat worms. Life’s so unfair. Nothing ever goes my way. I can actually feel a second chin forming on my face the skin is so heavy with my victim thinking. 

And then…pop. How does this serve me? What do I get out of this? What on earth am I doing?

Well, I do get something out of it. There’s always a reason you insist on playing the victim. If I play the victim and feel really sorry for myself and blame everything on all these really annoying circumstances that are happening around me, then when I don’t succeed at creating the life I want to create then I can say, well, it wasn’t my fault, it was because life was really unfair to me and I just didn’t get a good shot at things. I can tell myself it really had nothing to do with me. Life just got in the way. Poor me. 

So I can keep doing that. I can keep wallowing. I can keep feeding that feeling of being so hard done to.

Or, I can wake up and remember:

No one owes me. Life doesn’t owe me. And there is no violin, large or small, on its way.

You are the only one who can take responsibility for your life. You’re the only one who can decide you’re not going to play the victim. You can complain all you want about what’s going on in your life and all the things that stand in your way and all the reasons why you can’t move forward, but what are you expecting to happen? For someone to say “there, there” and fix it all for you? They won’t. They can’t! 

This is your life. These are your dreams. And you say you want to create your life the way you want it and live your dreams and do work that matters on your own terms but then as soon as the boiler breaks [insert your own problem here] you’re right back to your tiny violin?

It just doesn’t work that way. You have to pull yourself up and out. Up and out like Charlie in the glass elevator. 

Whatever your victim story looks like - whether it's about your lack of time, lack of resources, lack of supportive people around or something else - how does staying in that place help you? Wouldn’t you rather resolve to do something about it? Wouldn’t it serve you better to take responsibility? Wouldn’t it be more powerful to acknowledge that you’re playing the victim and then turn it around? Rise up? 

Because you can, you know. In an instant you can rise up and out of that place. A simple shift in thinking. It can be instantaneous. And that’s what I’m doing today. I’m rising up and out. I took a freezing cold shower and repeated a mantra of “this will make my hair extra glossy” whilst doing so. And then I wrote this. And now I’m going to go and find access to the internet so I can send it out to you. Because there’s always a solution. But you won’t find it whilst you’re hanging out feeling sorry for yourself.

Rise up and out today. And use your shift to help someone else do the same. 

Love and courage,

Leah