Stop Acting Like Britain’s Prince Harry
If you pay any attention to the news, you can’t have missed the rivalry between Great Britain’s Princes William and Harry. I used to think that Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, were the victims and got a raw deal from the monarchy, but now I’m thinking that Harry doth, as the saying goes, protest too much, and can’t snap himself out of victimhood, which reminds me of clients mired in a done-me-wrong mentality.
We all have grievances from the past, ways that family members, friends, bosses or institutions have hurt us. The idea is to problem solve a way to resolve the grievances—if that’s possible—or tuck them away and stop thinking about them. Sure, try to figure out what happened by yourself, with friends or with the alleged grievance perpetrator. But remember, this is a time-limited process and not meant to go on forever.
For example, if Sam didn’t invite you to his 9th birthday party and you’re 36, it’s time to stop harboring a grudge against Sam. If your parents neglected you and you had to fend for yourself, that is a terrible way to grow up and you have my sympathies, but you are no longer a child and it’s time to clear out the dead brush in your mind and focus on other things. If you didn’t get into Harvard and feel their decision wasn’t fair, you may be right, but there’s nothing you can do about it now and you’re only sucking pleasure out of the present by ruminating about the unfairness.
You either think like a victim or you don’t. You had no choice as a vulnerable child when you were a real victim, but now the choice isn’t made out in the world but in your head. If you spend a lot of time thinking that life isn’t fair, you deserve more than you have or are getting, or other people have it better than you, it’s time to enjoy a mental shift and breathe some fresh air into your current reality.
If you’re a victim now, do something to change that. Get out of your head and into an action plan that will actually solve your problems and upgrade your life. If you were a victim in the past, monitor your thoughts and conversations. Do you frequently complain about one person who hurt you? If so, you’re still letting them do damage. If they’re taking up a lot of your mental real estate, the best approach (I just wish I could tell Prince Harry this) is giving as little thought to past or current perpetrators as possible.
Maturity demands that we put away childish thoughts, and obsessing about people who’ve hurt us is one of them even when we didn’t deserve it. They did what they did and now it’s time for us to put things right with ourselves by laying our hurt or anger aside and getting on with our lives.