Money Talks, So Should You

40-Something Frugalista: Beware the 'victim mentality'

by T.L., Dimespring 30 (@beachbudget)

As I'm laying in the coffin-like tube that is the MRI machine, many different thoughts are going through my head. Most of them involving claustrophobia and panic, but some involving a huge pity party.

You see I've had a shoulder injury since August, and so far everything that has been done has felt like a waste of time and money: X-Rays, cortisone shots, physical therapy ... and yet I'm still not any better.

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And as I go for my almost daily beach runs, I pass by the people playing volleyball, a place where I feel I should currently be enjoying myself, yet I can't as I experience intense pain if I try to play.

My pity party could easily take it a step further. You see I'm JUST NOW feeling like I'm getting ahead financially. I've paid off all my debt, and made a huge amount of freelance income last month. My emergency fund is starting to get fatter, and (fingers crossed) I'm hopefully getting a pretty good tax refund this year.

But then my car broke down in the middle of the 405 freeway in Los Angeles at rush hour last month, which cost me $3,000 in repairs. And then there is the cost of my shoulder injury, which could get really expensive if I need surgery.

Two steps forward, one step back.

But guess what? When it comes down to it, that's how the cookie crumbles. Life isn't always fair.

One of the things I despise most in life is the victim mentality. One, it makes you feel out of control of your own life, and two it's incredibly selfish. It's as if all you think about is yourself and why bad things happen to you, when the truth is many people face their own struggles and hardships on a daily basis. They just probably don't post negative Facebook status updates about it like the victim does for the whole world to see.

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It's a slippery slope, the idea of potentially falling into victimhood. In fact, as I'm writing this I'm installing software on my other computer which is completely failing. But the thing to remember is these things happen  not to you, they just happen.

If you have fallen into a pattern of victimhood it's time to get out. Because the more you stay in there, the more you fall down the rabbit hole, making it a permanent part of your persona. And what happens when you walk around blaming everyone and everything for your bad fortune? Well people don't want to spend time with you, thereby making you spiral downward even more because you are lonely and depressed.

The best way to get out of your own head and start taking ownership of your life is gratitude. Look I'm not the genius who came up with this stuff, but many an expert has done studies which show that gratitude not only makes you happy for what you do have, but happier overall.

The second thing is to open your eyes to the rest of the world. The fact that I HAVE a car (that has run beautifully for 10 years before this happened), overall great health and two strong legs that let me run, and two MAC computers in my apartment makes me in better shape than a lot of the world today.

Your worst day could be someone else in the world's best day, so get a grip, and when you catch yourself having that pity party, make sure to think about or write down why it's great to be you right now.

T.L. is a freelance video editor and blogger living in Los Angeles. She enjoys movies, running and playing beach volleyball. You can follow her personal finance journey on her blog at Budget & the Beach, and follow her on twitter at @beachbudgetT.L. is a member of the Dimespring 30, a community of bloggers sharing their thoughts, experiences and attitudes on personal finance.