We’ve all heard of the “ripple effect”, haven’t we? Dictionary.com defines the ripple effect as “a spreading effect or series of consequences caused by a single action or event”. When I look back at my life, I can see so many instances where the ripple effect was in play. What I can also see now is how my attitude, the victim mentality, rode on these ripples until they became the waves that enveloped me. Depression, self-loathing, anxiety, fear…these were the waves I rode on through life, never understanding why.
“The victim mentality is characterized by pessimism, self-pity, repressed anger and a belief that life is beyond one’s control. Victims blame any and every available scapegoat (fate, circumstances, other people, even objects!) for their problems and disappointments. They often lead a crisis-ridden lifestyle, going from one trauma to another, never seeing the contribution they make in creating their own crises. According to them, nothing is ever their fault.” ~ Dr. Kim Shirin
Now I understand. I can look back and see my part: the denial, the excuses, the blame, etc. All these things kept me from the reality that I did play a part in my circumstances. What I projected was what was brought back to me and “Karma’s a bitch” as they say.
Today I am able to believe in and love myself. I no longer allow myself to play into the victim mentality. There is a reason things happen and whether good or bad, I accept responsibility for my actions or reactions in all of it. Yes, things happen that are beyond our control or others hurt us unjustly, but the way we react or respond is our responsibility.
Part of this responsibility is to learn to love and believe in ourselves. How can we expect others to love and believe in us if we cannot do this for ourselves? How can we give of ourselves if we are empty inside?
Empty? Yes, empty.
We give and give and give, hoping that someone will see and appreciate all that we are doing for them and give back to us the love, acceptance, appreciation or whatever it is we feel we need to fill us. Unfortunately, life does not work this way and we become empty and yes, we become resentful and bitter.
We need to learn to set boundaries and stop letting people take advantage of us. We need to learn that it is okay to say “No” and that when we do, our world will not come crashing down. And guess what? Their world will not end either. We need to stop doing so much for others and begin to start doing things for ourselves. We need to be brave enough to start taking those baby-steps in our own healing and recovery.
We can begin this journey by treating ourselves with the love and respect that we deserve. We need to stop expecting it from others and start doing it for ourselves. When we are able to do this, we set the standards for how others treat us. We will have the strength to stop those who mistreat/disrespect us in their tracks. I know, it takes much practice and time but we must begin to see and acknowledge our own strength, abilities, goodness…before we can expect others to do the same.
Make a commitment to yourself to begin this journey today by starting your own ripple effect. Start by choosing some words of affirmation and post them on your mirror, cupboards, dashboard, anywhere and everywhere so you see them every day. Say them out loud to yourself whenever you are alone. Start believing what you are saying. We know in our hearts the good things about ourselves but sometimes it is so hard to believe it in our heads.
Start your “ripple effect” and enjoy the ride!