Most of us don’t realise how fortunate we are that God gave us this power of Choice and hence we don’t use it to our benefit most if not all times.
Fred Kofman say’s you can choose to be a player or a victim in any situation in life, both sides have truth and facts to back them, except they are just one side of the whole reality. He gives an example of how most of us will respond to are simple question: why are you late for work/date/meeting?
Option one: The most obvious response will be, I was held up in another meeting, or I was stuck in traffic, my car broke down, my child did ABC etc.
Option two: The truth could be that we overslept, started off late, or decided to stay in a meeting that went over time.
He calls option one: “things you have no control over” and option two: “things you have control over.”
Most of us take the default position of option one because it makes us look innocent and we don’t have to take the blame, but what we are doing in this situation is that we are giving up control. This makes us by default the victim in any situation and hence we are likely to fail or not realise our full potential. We will not put any effort, since as a victim people are supposed to understand why you didn’t achieve or pass an exam; it is not your fault. We then settle for mediocrity all the time.
But if we decided to choose option two, taking control and responsibility, we are more likely to act on our situation and improve it. We will be able to get up and dust ourselves and move on towards our goal.
I will now delve to apply this to situation that Shevach Pepper a marriage counsellor has suggested: a case of being married to a depressed spouse.
You can decide to leave the marriage and say you left because your spouse was depressed and that is true. You will not lose anything (except time and emotion you invested while in it) but you will also not get anything. But you can also choose to stay; he says you can benefit a lot more. He gives 3 things that can happen to you if you decided to stay and stand by your depressed spouse.
Firstly, when you are with a depressed spouse you became proactive, hands on, you get your act together and are efficient because you have to do more roles that you would have done. In fact in a traditional African marriage if your wife is performing her cultural roles, as a man you might not even learn how to boil an egg, but if you stick to your wife, you may learn how to cook, get things going at home, prep kids for school, learn time management and how to effectively use your time and resources which you many have otherwise not learnt if the system was working well. We must remember that “necessity is the mother of all inventions.”
Secondly, you will also likely become creative or get your creative self switched on. You can start doing activities that call upon your creative self such as writing and painting. You also became a very romantic person and creative about your actions towards your spouse. You will try a lot of things to change environments and situations to make your spouse happy and help them get over their depression and find meaning to life. This will benefit you. JK Rolling of that Harry Potter fame started writing when she was on her lowest point in life you never know what you might became if you decide to not be a victim.
Lastly, you are likely to also become more spiritual and self less. You will get joy in the smiles and “Thank You’s” that you receive from spouse in appreciation of what you do for them. Even in extreme cases where they will not say thank you, your love for them will evoke a self less love that is driven by the moral right to do something good and nice regardless of whether we get any benefit from the action. That is the ultimate spiritual level, being selfless and exhibiting pure genuine kindness. You will also learn to be long suffering and patient.
These 3 things and many more will benefit you in many sectors of your life, career, business, social etc.
But the choice is yours, I would not be prescriptive on what you need to do but, I urge you to have the motto that Apostle Paul had, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength and decide not be a victim but a player.