In response to last week’s post, Scourge of Judgment (opens in a new tab), my dear friend, Stephen Hager, The Hadron Group (opens in a new tab), said “My experience has been that the first casualty is the person doing the judging.”
His observation triggered thoughts about how often we are the first victims of what we do or say. The following are a few examples of how we become the first victims of our actions.
When we experience anger, whether justified or not, and act quickly on that anger we often regret our actions, damage relationships, expend time and energy trying to rebuild damaged relationships, and generally feel less good about ourselves. That’s a hefty price to pay.
As Stephen also quick points out, when we ask forgiveness, we feel better about ourselves and increase the likelihood of retaining a valued relationship.
A few days ago, I was blessed to be invited to present a program, Fear and Boldness. The folks attending were a great audience. They readily and candidly offered insights from their experiences. One of the things that became obvious from the discussion is that while fear can protect us from sudden attacks, which we seldom face today, the first victim it creates is us.
Unfortunately, we tend to nurse our fears which blows them out of proportion, causes us to forget that we’ve never failed to deal effectively with any situation we’ve faced. In other words, we enable our fears to become debilitating…depriving us, and at times our families, of the joy we and they so richly deserve.
More often than not, we procrastinate because we’re asking ourselves to do something we don’t enjoy. It’s a natural tendency that doesn’t serve us well. By postponing what needs to be done we delay getting the results we desire. In the process, we expend energy feeling guilty about not tending to what needs to be done, feeling less comfortable with who we are and our ability to accomplish what’s necessary.
When we envy others’ success, the talents they possess or their lifestyle, we diminish our own. We also overlook the effort they employ to gain what we envy. Instead, we consider them more fortunate than we are. In doing so, we deprive ourselves of awareness in the ability we possess to generate what we desire…if we desire it enough.
People who enjoy greater success and a more financially secure future than we do, aren’t more capable than we are, their desire is stronger than ours. Early in my career I envied a young man who was making more money than I was…until I examined what was required in the work he did. That analysis helped me regain the joy I previously experienced with the life I had chosen.
Whenever you experience an emotion that tends to bring you down, to diminish joy in your life, pause. Remind yourself that you are going to be the first casualty if you persist in this thinking. Take a moment to consider what you’ll give up if you nurture these feelings. Then consider the gains available to you if you set this emotion aside and move forward.
You’ll quickly discover that whenever you feel like a victim, you’re a victim of your own creation. In doing so, you’ll find ways to stop victimizing yourself by choosing to set the emotion aside in favor of more productive, beneficial behaviors.
For our kids
As you see that your kids’ responses to negative feelings are hurting them, ask them “Who are you really hurting? Who is the first casualty of your actions? What are you costing yourself with the actions you’re taking? What could you gain if you handled the situation differently/”
As kids explore their own behaviors and become aware of what their behaviors cost them, they’ll quickly change the way in which they deal with negative feelings. They’ll thank you for helping them avoid becoming a victim of their own creation.
Feel free to share this blog with those whom you feel would benefit from this message. It’s an easy way to say “I love you. I’m thinking of you.”
I love hearing your thoughts and experiences, please share your thoughts in a comment.
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