The Victim or The Player, Which Are You?

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by Sonya Mohamed

When it comes to our ability to respond to a specific situation, we often take on one of two roles: victim or player. Fred Kofman presents this idea in his book, Conscious Business (it’s good, I’d recommend you read it).  Each situation we come across offers us the chance to occupy either role. It’s unlikely that you’re always the victim or always the player. Depending on the circumstances, you move between the two, and often do so unconsciously.

The underlying difference between the two roles, according to Kofman, is where your attention is focused. When we slip into the victim role, we pay the most attention to what factors are beyond our control. When we move into the player role, we’re aware of what we can’t control, but center our attention instead on the factors and variables that are within our sphere of influence. 

There are countless reasons we move into these different roles, but the main point Kofman makes is that a higher level of consciousness allows for choice.  It helps us see when we’re settling into the victim role, break free, and take the stance of the player.

On the surface, most of us want to be (and claim to be) players. The trouble is, there’s something very appealing about the victim role that draws us to it. When you’re a victim, nothing is your fault, and that feels good. You’re absolved from taking any responsibility. In essence, the victim is powerless and at the mercy of a flawed external world that can’t be controlled. Blame is the victim’s favorite tool because it fortifies their position.  It obscures what’s causing the problem, leaving little opportunity to see what can be done to solve it.

Learning to see the whole picture is the real secret to being a player. It’s not about absorbing all the blame for any given situation, though people will try to get you to. It’s about seeing what variables were outside of your control and what factors you could have influenced, all in the spirit of moving forward intentionally. If you can do that, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions that lead to more desirable outcomes. If something doesn’t go quite right, you'll be able to let it go if it wasn’t something you could control, or make a mental note on how you can do it differently next time if it was.

The key here is in understanding there isn’t a problem in your day, in your life, or in the world that you can solve without first accepting your piece in it. So, be a player. Be accountable. Own your piece of what’s troubling you and then change your day, your life, and the world.