Victims and Overcomers
Jen Blacow Operations Manager, Aspiedent CIC
19th June 2020
Recently, I read a post by a friend, Pamela Hopkinson, in which she stated her mindset was “How can I” and not “What can’t I”. Her post was essentially about moving forward in business, despite the difficulties and setbacks small businesses have faced due to the Pandemic. This made me think.
As we gradually come out of Lockdown and face the challenges this has created, I reckon it is a good idea to look to build our networks with ‘overcomers’ whilst steering clear of ‘victims’.
Ok, please bear with me.
For the record, I am not ‘victim-blaming’. Trust me, like many of you I have been a victim and had my fair share of injustices. But in some parts of society we are seeing an increasing amount of what I would call ‘victimhood’.
Victims (in the context of victimhood) are easy to spot. They tend to do A LOT of complaining, usually on various media platforms. They dish out criticism, for example on Twitter. And they are often shouty, blameful, judgemental, and shaming. Possibly worst of all, they are intolerant of different views.
They appear to occasionally delight in publicly shaming people, although I do not think they really enjoy it, and they talk a lot about society being the ‘problem’, and of oppression.
But they all have one thing in common: they offer no sensible solutions to the so-called issues they are complaining about. And although they swear down that their cause is for the good of humanity, they shut other humans down who even dare to disagree with them!
See J K Rowling’s recent article for a more in-depth discussion on this type of thing. Quite frankly, it is scary.
Back to overcomers
So, an overcomer is someone, or a business, who despite having been a victim to something, e.g., a huge financial hit because of coronavirus, discrimination and/or abuse have decided to pick themselves up, brush themselves off, and move forward. They generally give more than they want to receive.
Now, I am not saying that everybody has an equal start in life, and that life is fair. Totally not.
But an overcomer, instead of criticising and complaining about their bad circumstances, will think ‘Right, what can I actually do now, despite my terrible situation?’, ‘What can I do to move me towards a sensible goal, even if I fail?’
Some businesses have appeared to thrive during the covid-19 lockdown, and others have become casualties of the situation (through no fault of their own).
I am lucky enough to move within business networks which include people who, despite having fallen down due to the obstacles created by the pandemic (including myself), have quickly tapped into their support networks, picked themselves up, brushed themselves off and moved on in any way they could.
People who can accept the hand they were dealt (however terrible), and have taken on the mindset of ‘how can I’ and ‘what can I’, are winners.
These are the overcomers who I think we should be looking out for supporting within our networks.
But being compassionate is so important. Sometimes, taking on the role of ‘victim’ as one’s identity can be a very understandable response to horrifically traumatic experiences. It is so easy to fall into that mindset.
Identity politics is about victims; making people feel they are victims, and if I was being cynical, I would say that these victims are used to achieve the political will of those behind it all.
But the consequences of this is that victims sometimes feel that others should do things for them – actually give them life on a plate. This is not realistic nor helpful for any individual or group. We see this in our work with autistic people.
Yes, autistic people do face stigma, discrimination, and unfair barriers getting into the labour market. But in general, we find there are two kinds of autistic job seekers: those who follow the victim narrative and who want us to just place them in a job, and those who want us to help them help themselves (overcomers). These are the people who want real help to live life.
Overcomers stick at it, whilst victims do not stick around very long because, yes, we do expect them to put some effort in, despite their extra difficulties!
The point I am trying to make is that as we move out of a challenging three months, faced with uncertainty and dread, we can either be ‘victims’ or ‘overcomers’ of this pandemic.
You could lose everything and more, and still be an ‘overcomer’. It is not about achievement or failure; it is about how you take any extremely awful situation you may find yourself in, at any time, and move forward. Even if it is tiny little steps.
That said, I am not going to stop moaning sometimes. That is normal! But I will try and continue to overcome difficulties as soon as I can, rather than be lured in by ‘victimhood’. I will also continue to try and support individuals and businesses who do the same.
Are you with me?