Have you heard something like, “It’s better to give someone a hand up than a handout”? Well, contrary to societal opinion, it’s not a mean or cruel statement. It’s wisdom, because it strikes at the heart of human nature. Sure, there are times to give freely to people in need because we’ve been so blessed. I believe we’re called do so and I bet you do just that. But, when I put my hand out—feeling entitled, deserving, and play the victim—there are clear consequences:
- I become lazy
- I get angry
- I fail to contribute
- I don’t serve
- I stop learning
Let’s look at these briefly.
- I become lazy.
If I am handed stuff, why sweat, labor, and toil? Even though we were created to create and designed to work, any person given all he or she needs will find the path of doing nothing an easy one to tread. I simply become lazy.
- I get angry.
When I believe I’m entitled and then don’t get “what I deserve,” my thoughts are, Hey, not fair! and Why would they do this to me!? And because thoughts drive feelings, the output can only be one thing: Now I’m mad! Anger is generally an unhealthy place to be, serving none of us well.
- I fail to contribute.
There’s not a “motivational speaker” who hasn’t said, “What goes around comes around!” and “To get you must first give!” Well, no matter your view of these sweaty people on the platform, they’re right. It’s just the way the world works. It’s forever true: we reap what we sow. Truly, when my hand is out, I’m not using it, nor my feet, energy, or talent to add value to anyone else’s life. Fail!
- I don’t serve.
This sounds like contribution, but it comes before. Contribution is the result; service is the act. The act of serving feeds our soul, ignites our spirit, and creates joy–in us. When engaged in victim thinking, there’s about zero chance I’ll be serving and thus contributing to anyone–not even myself.
- I stop learning.
If I am lost in the forest, have never been a Boy Scout and want to survive, I would have to learn and learn fast! There would be no time for the traps victim thinking leads to: complaining, blaming, and procrastinating. I would work–intensely—to find food, water, and shelter. I may lack the skills, but the desire to learn would envelope me. If you hand me all that I need to make it, I would learn nothing.
So honest question: Have you ever found yourself in any of these places?