Las Vegas, Nevada (PressExposure) April 30, 2007 -- "Anyone who becomes a victim has a choice," says Tom Justin, author of the book, How To Take No For An Answer And Still Succeed. "They can remain victims or declare themselves survivors, but it's not easy in a climate of victimhood."
Justin dedicated an entire chapter to the subject of victimhood, Victims or Victorious (Please Choose One). He said, that in his opinion, "For many who read this book and attend the seminars, this is the most important piece of information of all. Are we to be victims or survivors? There's a method to immediately become the latter," he said.
"The natural reaction toward a victim is compassion, It feels good to be comforted. Who doesn't like that? However, when it goes on too long it can be personally stunting, literally creating another layer of victimhood."
He continued, "We don't have the right to criticize another's tragedy and how long they remain a victim to it, at least up to a point.
"The problem," he said, "lies partially with the media in the most severe or newsworthy events."
He said that in the week before the Virginia Tech shootings, Don Imus was the big news. "Many pundits were saying how his insults could effect the rest of the lives of these young women. Of course, they meant negatively. Some of these commentators and 'experts' were crying out for these young and powerful women to remain victims for all the wrong that Imus had done to them. Their oh so serious concerns looked pretty ridiculous after Virginia Tech."
Justin continued, "As with all tragedies, there will be people damaged for years to come. Most of those people don't know a way out. Counseling will certainly help many, as long as they are guided toward becoming survivors and not laid out as perpetual victims."
Some victims need more time to heal, than others. But, sometimes there are those, who like a minority of the Hurricane Katrina survivors, may live the rest of their lives as victims, wondering why the government or the Salvation Army is no longer caring for them.
"The victim continues to see the problem while the survivor is seeking a solution." Justin held his hand up to his eyes. "Imagine the palm of your hand as the problem. If that's all you're focusing on, you are unlikely to see the solution. But, if you remove your hand, i.e., the problem, you have a whole vista of possibilities."
Justin, who also gives seminars on the subject of his book, said that his awakening jolted him over 20 years ago in a New York City department store. "A woman was loudly scolding a little boy, about 5-years old," he said. "The poor kid was standing there looking at the woman, who was probably his mother, and he was clearly embarrassed by the passersby who were looking down at them."
"Her scolding was over the line because it was lasting so long and so loud. Impulsively I leaned down and said to the little boy, 'That's okay, sometimes adults make mistakes too. You'll be fine.'"
That night, Justin was giving a talk to over 500 sales executives. He ditched his prepared speech, telling the story of that day, and wondered how long that little boy would be a victim of that scene?
He also told some personal stories that he'd never shared anywhere else, surprising even himself. He discussed some failures in his life and how he had realized that he'd been hanging on to some of them. He said that to release his own invisible "victim stories" that day was the most freedom he'd felt in a long time.
Justin said that to be so simple as to make a declaration to be a survivor might seem contrary to the seriousness of the situation. He was very gratified to see so many young people who'd suffered through the Virginia Tech horrors and yet were able talk about the importance of gratitude and survival.
"To be aware of replacing a victim attitude by declaring yourself a survivor will provide an overwhelming sense of freedom. The best thing we can do with any victim is to offer them comfort and safety. Once that's settled, offer our encouragement for them to become survivors."
Justin is offering has free special report, "How to Use The Power Of NO," on his website, http://www.tomjustin.com as well as a complimentary excerpt of the chapter, Victim or Victorious.