In a world that wants you to be weak, it is an act of rebellion to be strong.
By now you must be familiar about an emerging phenomenon in North America and many parts of Europe: victim culture.
Victim culture presumes the value of an individual not based on their achievements, expertise or contribution, but by their degree of victimisation.
The value of a person is measured by how much they feel they have been persecuted or oppressed, rather than what they actually have to offer as a human being.
It cannot be emphasised enough how malignant this sort of thinking is.
Why is victim culture dangerous? Because believing you are a victim of circumstance will inescapably make you one. Here’s why:
A fundamental part of being human is our sense of agency, or the belief that we can make our own decisions and act in accordance to our will to influence outcomes in our lives.
The idea of human agency is a fairly contentious philosophical topic outside the scope of this article. If you want to look into this further I suggest you research free will versus determinism.
Victims allow their sense of agency to atrophy because they become engrossed in blaming others for their own lack of achievement. Because some other is responsible for their misfortune, the victim is thereby absolved of any personal responsibility.
They become nothing more than a leaf floating in a stream of circumstance.
A ragged flag waving in whatever direction the wind is blowing.
Now, in a very real sense, our agency is constrained. For example, laws limit our agency by coercing us to not murder our annoying neighbour for interrupting our recovery sleep because they decided to drill holes in the wall at 3AM. You also have no control over the fact you were laid off job because your employer lost 60% of their business due to the pandemic.
Moreover, victimisation and oppression in the world is sadly very real.
But allowing yourself to be a victim means you relinquish personal responsibility over yourself, creating a vacuum which external agents will gladly fill for their own benefit. Often under the guise of ‘knowing better’.
So how do you fight victim culture?
First, recognise the victim mentality in yourself. Recognise when you’re allowing yourself to be a victim in a difficult situation and realign to see the opportunities rather than the obstacles.
Weed it out from your social circles by creating accountability. Say a friend is complaining about a hostile coworker. Remind him that he has a personal responsibility to stand up for himself. Remind him that he can either feel victimised, or deal with the situation with whatever options are available to him. Toxic pencil pushers suck—I’ve been there.
Lastly, strength culture is the antidote to victim culture. Strength training is an inner war which requires taking personal responsibility, developing discipline, courage, and being accountable to your coach or training partners. Anyone who has been training long enough knows that these principles naturally tend to spill over into every other facet of life as well.
Cultivate a strength culture with your friends and family, inspire those around you to see the opportunity in adversity. Become strong with them because being strong is an act of rebellion in a world where weakness is the norm.