It Is All About Attitude
Those of you that know me well and know what I deal with know that when I talk about being a survivor, it does not mean getting well. There is no cure for what I have. Survivor is an attitude. Survivor is mojo for me and mojo is attitude and a refusal to give up or be defeated.
image from www.idlehearts.com
Being a survivor means that you do not allow your illness to rob you of being happy, of choosing to be happy or of having joy no matter how small your world has become. That is a survivor..choosing to be happy in spite of, choosing to find good in your life, choosing to make the most of your life and choosing to help those behind you that are sick. I owe my sons and my grand baby that effort. As someone so wisely told me, it is not all about me. There are many much worse than I am and many who have yet to become ill.
Many people have built walls around themselves and have designated that this is how it will be from now on. Survivor means that we take the walls down and we create our world. I live mostly in my room on a hospital bed with real wooden walls…but you know what? I have torn those walls down mentally and I have traveled to England and walked the shores there with my feet in the water, seen the castles and walked paths all over the world. I have been to Australia, to Canada, to South America, to Europe, to Italy and all over the US and all from this hospital bed. And how did I do that? I did it by choosing to make the most of my life and choosing to see myself as a survivor. I found new ways to do things instead of being stymied by being chronically ill. Some people are so walled into seeing all they can not do that they have effectively walled themselves into the life of victim and will be one the rest of their lives. Take the walls down. Life is still there. You just have to do it a different way.
image from fueldabook.com
Sometimes people can think they are the only ones that have it as bad as they do and when I see that, I am reminded of the woman with the 60 pound tumor. What a fighter she was. When I get a new diagnosis or have new surgeries coming up, my son and I look at each other and say “Well, at least it is not the 60 pound tumor”. It is what we call keeping it in perspective and realizing that things could be a lot worse. I just had surgery and surgery for me is very risky. But, I went into that surgery believing I would make it and that I still had a need to be here to serve the Lord.
Every day, I had life choices to make. Did I really want to have surgery knowing I might die? What if I died and the piles of things were too much to fall onto my son? What if I made it through surgery but had a stroke or heart attack during it? Those are life choices and it does not just include me. It includes my son who has been my caretaker for about fifteen plus years now. And so, I have to think about this and have to find solutions. Victims do not think about how they affect others or what their actions do to others. I am a survivor and so I think about these things.
So many of you have inspired me to keep fighting and to be the survivor I am. You have sent me things to encourage me to keep dreaming…like the coin necklace I got from one of you that says “never give up your dreams..they are yours” or the crooked wooden cross made so you can hold it in your palm that was given to remind me to keep God close, or the beautiful angel that was hand-made and had dolomite as the body which is healing, or the bear necklace that mama ..my aunt sent me and all the bears were made of crystals for healing, or the red heart to remind me that we shared the blood of warriors, or the cards so many of you sent saying don’t give up…keep fighting and even more touching..the ones that said I inspired you to fight. See, we help each other in this battle and we encourage warrior traits in each other.
I think some of the biggest differences when I changed from victim to survivor was that no longer was the story “all about me”. I suddenly started having an awareness of those around me and what my sickness did to them. I started valuing my time with people because I did not know if I would be here to see them again. I started realizing that my attitude was being watched closely by those around me and whether I wanted to be or not…I was being a role model for someone and I did not want to model being a victim to them. I wanted to model what being a warrior, a fighter..a survivor was like.
“Going from victim to survivor has to be a conscious choice, because often times as we suffer through “victim-hood” we rarely realize we’re doing it. We grow so accustomed to the misery of our victim mentality, we forget that we are making the conscious choice to live life this way.
Many people prefer to remain a victim because working towards healing and living a proactive life is difficult. It is not any more difficult than remaining a victim; both present challenges, yet one choice has a much more favorable outcome. Choosing to remain a victim is like refusing to move off a beach when the tide comes in. You know it will come in and pummel you with waves. You know that you might even drown, but you just don’t feel like moving.” Hayley Rose
Why is it that some people seem to move on to becoming a survivor while others remain in the victim mentality? From what I have read and experienced, some people get so used to being the victim that they prefer staying there because it is familiar. Some enjoy the attention though that can turn sour after a while as people tend to get tired of victim mentality. And, some just do not know how and need encouragement from those who have been on the same path ahead of them.
How to Move from Victim to Survivor By Hayley Rose
1. Being a survivor is a conscious decision. It is not something that just happens.
2. Make the decision to no longer sulk in self-pity and feel that the world is out to get you when you experience disappointments.
3. Instead of being miserable when things don’t go the way you wanted, ask yourself what can you do now?
4. Don’t immediately give up and start wallowing in grief. Keep working towards your desired outcome no matter how many times you get rejected or have doors slam in your face. This applies to life’s challenges as well as facing the long and emotional road to recovery after being the victim of a sexual assault or trauma.
5. Being a survivor is a state of mind. A survivor keeps going in the face of adversity. A survivor must cultivate the tenacity of a tired hiker on a steep hill with no peak in sight.
6. Although it will feel like an uphill battle at first, as you move consciously from victim to survivor you will begin to see small improvements and over time, it will change the entire quality of your life for the better.
It is easy to fall into all the trappings of victim mentality. Some people think life sucks, while other people love it. This is the same difference between living your life as a victim or a survivor. It’s all about attitude.
It is all about choice. I had to laugh today as Dr. Phil was telling a woman who was choosing to remain a victim how to overcome that and begin becoming a survivor. He would state similar to what is above and the woman would say “But, it is just so hard. I do not know how to do it”. And after about the third time, Dr. Phil started tapping his microphone and looked up and said “Is this thing on???? I just told you” That is what it can be like when someone just does not want to give up being a victim. It is all about choice and she was still choosing the victim role. And you feel like your words are falling on deaf ears (or the microphone is off). That is when it is time to move on and let them figure out what they really want. Helping others is important but you can not drown yourself with people who do not want to be better.
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