Don’t allow the victimhood narrative to define you

Work It!

Carlotta Daniels-Randolph | 4/23/2017, 10:31 a.m.
For many decades now we have been identified as part of social categories such as “underrepresented and underserved”, or “minority” ...

For many decades now we have been identified as part of social categories such as “underrepresented and underserved”, or “minority” based on our race, ethnicity, gender and socio-economic background. These designations have been made to indicate that there are certain disadvantages or lack of opportunity for people in these categories. And while that has been and continues to be the experience of millions of people, it is not the experience of all who may on the surface fall into these categories.

Unfortunately we see evidence today that racism, classism and sexism are real and persistent; however, everyday ordinary people are shifting their personal narrative from that of “victim”, which those designations suggest we are, to that of what I call either a Survivor, Striver, Thriver, or Driver--- or a combination of these modes of existence.

Sadly, many individuals find themselves having to come back emotionally and physically from a devastating loss or traumatic experience. And, when they find their way back, and recognize that they have done so, we may consider them a survivor. For those who can move into the survivor mode and not remain paralyzed in the state of victimhood, it is an important first step to shifting their personal narrative from victimhood to that of an empowered individual. Many Survivors have something that compelled them to stay here. They may recognize their value and strength and have loved ones and dreams that give them reason to not remain a victim or give up altogether and live in despair.

We are here for a reason. We have a purpose and when we recognize that we are worthy of a good life, peace and safety, we are more motivated to strive for a better life. Strivers recognize this and go about the business of obtaining the things needed to fulfill their dreams. The most successful Strivers fine tune their dreams into goals with steps they actively pursue until bringing their desire into fruition. Some Strivers may exhaust a lot of energy and effort in pursuit of their goals. There may be a lot of trial and error, but they stay in the game and persist.

There is a state of being where you recognize that you are part of something greater and are truly grateful for what you have, are generous, faithful, fearless and humble and it seems to everyone around you that you thrive and are successful with the appearance of little effort or hardship--as if experiencing a state of grace. These Thrivers may have moved from other modes, but now exist in a space that naturally creates flow. Thrivers flourish because they understand that they are meant to be successful and they do not fear or resist it. They are open to success and deeply grateful for it.

Then we have the movers and shakers who can compel things along in a specific direction. They are a force to be reckoned with and usually use their ability for good. The Drivers are our leaders and innovators--that don’t let much stand in the way of them achieving their goal. They possess a strong urge to succeed and will use their power and influence to accomplish their goals.

What mode of existence do you find yourself in-- are you a Victim, Survivor, Striver, Thriver, Driver or none of the above? Meeting the day to day challenges of work and life in general takes focused attention, determination and persistence. If we allow the negativity of the victimhood narrative that is hoisted upon us by societal designations --along with other marginalizing actions, to prevail, it can create despair and impede success. This is a disempowering choice to make-- and it is critical that we understand and accept that it is a choice.

It is our duty to ourselves, family and community that we determine who we are and set our own course in life to achieve our highest aspirations. Our awareness and use of our power is what allows us to achieve whatever it is we wish to achieve.

Carlotta Daniels-Randolph, M.Ed. is a workforce development professional with 20 years’ experience in the public and private sector and an administrator and adjunct instructor at Delaware County Community College.