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February 2014




Do You Play the Victim?

"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."

… Victor Frankl (1905 – 1997 Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor

Have you ever felt like the victim? I know I have, certainly in my younger years. As we go through life, we encounter circumstances that cause us pain and suffering, often, it appears, through no fault of our own. In those situations, it is easy to find fault in others and blame them for our suffering. However, in doing so, Visit The Hubwe cast ourselves as the victim and those we blame as the perpetrators. Sometimes this is valid, sometimes it is not.

This may seem fairly straightforward on the surface. After all, why wouldn't we simply assign blame to others who hurt us. However, when we see ourselves as the victim in a situation, we also declare that we were powerless then. As victims, things are done to us that we do not want and cannot prevent.

This does not mean that we can always prevent certain unwanted things occurring. This is unrealistic. However, as Victor Frankl says, we always have that last human freedom, we can choose our attitude in relation to what happens to us. He was speaking as a survivor of the Holocaust, where he found himself at the mercy of the Nazis in a concentration camp. Yet, in the direst circumstances, he spoke of clinging to his dignity by hanging onto this last human freedom.

We all have a choice and rather than acting like the victim, we can recognise our own role in certain situations and take responsibility for what part we can play in it. This does not mean that we can always change the outcome, but we can look for what we can influence.

Why is this important?

The more we feel like the victim, the more we assign only other people's action as being at fault. In doing so, we say that we are not to blame and do not have to take different actions in the future. Yet, taking this stance closes us to learning. The first rule of learning is to admit that we have something to learn. By saying, that all the blame lies elsewhere, there is clearly nothing for us to learn in this situation. If we do this with some regularity, then we may be missing many learning opportunities in life.

Our ability to learn is not the only casualty here. Each time we feel like we are the victim, we feel a little more powerless in life in general. Depending on the severity of the situation, this can have a huge immediate impact or a slower and more subtle lessening of our dignity. As we feel more powerless, we lose our capacity to influence our future and become even more of a victim. If we continue down this path, ultimately all we can do is blame the world for our suffering. We may take solace in our belief that it is not our fault, but we are still suffering.

So here is an invitation. When you feel hard done by, don't just look to find fault, look at the part you played in creating the situation. You may not have spoken up when you could have done or not acted in time. Seek to learn from misfortune and hold on to your power.

We invite you to explore more in the articles section of our web site.

Play Create Elevate

Some thoughts from Jacqui Chaplin

"We are always too busy for our children; we never give them the time or interest they deserve. We lavish gifts upon them; but the most precious gift, our personal association, which means so much to them, we give grudgingly."

… Mark Twain (1835 - 1910) US novelist


I’m not busy. I’m crazy busy!

Today, when people are asked “How are you?”, their answer now seems to be found somewhere towards the crazy end of the busy spectrum. It appears that working life has gone beyond ‘busy’ and into ‘crazy’.

For decades it seems employees have been asked to do more with less. Hence, the shift from plain old busy to crazy busy. A number of factors contribute to this state of mind.

The first is the rapid change in increasing expectations of what and how employees will deliver on the job. With enslavement to shareholder returns, cost cutting, increasing productivity and cyclical redundancies, people are experiencing mild to tragic levels of gut wrenching anxiety about whether they are good enough, whether they’ll be next or whether the company will exist in twelve months.

The second is the perception that each person is fully utilising every single minute that they are in the workplace. How could you answer anything other than ‘really busy’ when you’re responding to your boss’ question on how things are?  The challenge with perception is to be busy enough to be a productive contributor but not to be seen as so busy that you are out of control.

A third factor is the 'work bleed' into personal time. When your kids are having bets with you or each other that you won’t be home for dinner for the third night in a row this week, you have a bleed over or busy challenge. People can get so caught up in the value they contribute to the workplace they forget about the value they contribute to their home life until that value is completely diminished. They come home one night and there is nothing or nobody there. The months of conversations leading up to that night were never heard, heeded or taken seriously.
Rapid change, shifting expectations, the importance of perception and the balance of reality in the personal domain are all play significant roles in our mind health and overall quality of life.

What is the key to maintaining the kind of mind health that has you enjoy all aspects of your life?

Resilience! There are ten keys to building and sustaining resilience to ensure you can maintain positive mind health even when life is throwing you some tricky curve balls.

My favourite resilience strategy is COMPATITUDE… which comes from combining compassion with gratitude as a mindset practice and choice. It’s best applied when someone or something happens around you that makes you go “What the!?!?!?”  You can then imagine what ‘less than pleasant’ things might have happened to that person that had them think that what they did or said was appropriate… then you can be grateful that those things you imagined have not happened to you and you don’t have to respond inappropriately because you can choose to apply compassion and gratitude = compatitude.

May your days be resilient ones!

We invite you to read Jacqui's blog here

You can visit the Play Create Elevate website here

More on PCE next month!

Hey, did you know?

Since November 2013, Jacqui has been hosting a weekly radio show called ‘But I Feel Good’ …talking about pink elephants and black dogs.

Radio ShowThe show is dedicated to speaking openly and comfortably about the ‘black dog’ of mood disorders from a lived experience perspective and the ‘pink elephant’ strategies and practices that build emotional resilience and inner fortitude.

It covers a range of topics related to mind health and plays a great mix of music in between interviews with subject matter experts and related content.

The show goes live to air, streaming on www.wmafm.com so it can be heard AROUND THE WORLD every Monday from 1-3pm AET. Its official broadcast base is WMA FM 94.9 – the Voice of the Goldfields and extends across the Mt Alexander Shire in Victoria on the wireless.

Put this date in your diaries: Monday 31 March 1-3pm. Chris Chittenden will be interviewed on the topic of "Moods and Emotions: What they are and how you can more effectively manage your moods and emotions as well as those of people around you."

The Monthly Diversion

Another one courtesy of Peter Thorneycroft..

The Bathtub Test

During a visit to my doctor, I asked him, "How do you determine whether or not an older person is not capable of fending for themselves and should be put in an old age home?"

"Well," he said, "we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a  teacup and a bucket to the person to empty the bathtub."

"Oh, I understand," I said. "A clear thinking person would use the bucket  because it is bigger than the spoon or the teacup."

"No" he said. "A clear thinking person would pull the plug. Do you want a bed near the window?"


"Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for."

… Victor Frankl (1905 – 1997 Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor

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