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Victim or Victor, Our Choice

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I took my car to be repaired by a large and still popular chain of stores that will remain nameless because they have indeed changed their policies for the better.  But, back then this auto repair department paid commission to their mechanics on parts sold and work done. So I’d walk in for an oil change and all of a sudden the basketball rolling around in my truck became a reason for a complete brake job with new rotors.

The truly sad part about this scam is the fact I’d just had new brakes installed and the rotors turned less than a month before.  This mega-chain store auto department did not call to get my permission to do the work.  They just charged me for it and attempted to get away with it. If they had inspected the brakes they would have seen the brand new work.

I was certainly not the only person (women most likely back then) to get suckered into the retail giant’s really bad policy of reinforcing dishonest behavior among unscrupulous mechanics and store employees.  Bad people think nothing of doing bad things.  Good people often fall prey and are victimized.  But from my response to the manager, it was clear I was not going to be a victim.

I presented receipts for the recent repairs and demanded a refund with a threat of reporting them, which I did too. Enough of us did report the problem that a class action suit ended the commission policy among all auto repair facilities I have visited since.

We cannot always prevent being taken advantage of by people who think they can get away with it. Each of us has to set and uphold a personal standard of behavior.  Then we have to be our own gatekeeper to demand the highest level of behavior from ourselves.  But, not all of us sets a standard of positive and honest behavior.

Not everyone cares about keeping their word, or communicating clearly, or assuming responsibility for projecting their stuff onto other people. Not everyone appreciates negative behavior always returns in the form of negative consequences.  Payback is hell for those who seek to use, abuse and victimize others or who assume no responsibility for their actions. But I am happy to report those folks who attempt to use us, abuse us, or victimize us do not have to get a second or third chance. We may get fooled once and forgive.  And, we don’t have to fall for it a second or third time.

It’s always in our best interest to continue to look for the best in people. But when someone shows us who they really are through the behavior they put out that negatively impacts us or others, we do not allow their actions to cause us to suffer or for us to feel targeted, duped or a casualty. Feeling like people are using you is a sure sign you need to set some healthy and strong boundaries.

I have forgiven many people for treating me badly once.  Today I still forgive but I do not allow them the opportunity to victimize me again. Choosing to be a victim, to feel powerless, used, and abused, never felt good or did anything to boost my self-esteem.  Refusing to feel like a victim, even when I am victimized, allows me to move on with a solid determination to stay aligned with the behavior standards I set for myself.  One of the behaviors is not allowing other people power over me by me feeling like a victim.

The ‘aha’ that you are absolutely capable of choosing to be the victor over situations is a pure rush of enthusiastic adrenalin packed self-love.  It is intensely powerful to accept that although we want to share our lives with people, we DON’T need to keep people around who use, abuse, or mistreat us.  We don’t have to support anyone or any business who does not listen to us, or who refuses to acknowledge our input, or who arrogantly looks down on us, or attempts to use us.  We choose to give our loyalty to and invest our confidence in people who consistently treat us with respect, kindness, honesty, and professionalism.

You may be victimized in life but you do not have to be a victim. It is a powerful feeling to accept being a victim is not a pro-active position. I guarantee you from experience nothing feels better or more powerful than taking charge of yourself to create the life you truly want to have.  Nothing feels more powerful than coming to your own rescue. Nothing feels more satisfying than choosing to be the victor over your life circumstances to set boundaries to not be victimized a second time.