The language of victimhood | TravelResearchOnline

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The language of victimhood

This week we are looking at the impact language has on our psychology. What comes next I have written on before and managed to stir up some debate, not all of it in agreement with me. I love it when that happens.

You will meet more challenges in the travel business than in most, simply because of the pace of innovation and change. The industry has been in a state of complete liquid flux since 1994 or so. Many of the suppliers and travel professionals we old timers once knew no longer exist. But in their place have arisen a new crop of exciting business models and individuals molding themselves to fit circumstance. On occasion, these same people mold circumstance to fit themselves.

We have all experienced slumps and business difficulties. Too often we are tempted to blame anyone and anything for our situation.  Clients are too price conscious and suppliers don’t properly support us.  The press dishes out nothing but negativity and even nature conspires against us with bad weather, volcanoes and hurricanes.  The temptation to play the victim is a sure way to the bottom of the heap. The best travel consultants look for the opportunity in the rubble.


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I come from a school that requires accepting total responsibility for everything that goes awry. In fact, I think the best years of my life began when I decided most of the problems in my life I was responsible for creating and my destiny was of my own doing.

When you blame others, you give up a powerful force for change: yourself. But we are often taught otherwise. We are schooled by some psychologies to blame our fathers, our mothers, our economic circumstances and our schooling.  It’s never our fault.

But if we want to change our circumstances, it’s better if it is our fault because we can then make changes that really matter.  Even if it’s not 100% true, I found myself in more comforting environments when I decided I have no one to blame for my situations than myself.

But the reality is in the final analysis we are indeed responsible for growing out of the past, putting circumstance behind us, learning from mistakes and moving on. When we blame ourselves, we can learn from mistakes.  When we blame others, the remedy is more difficult because, well…it’s not our fault.  When we have nobody to blame but ourselves, something remarkable happens.  We are truly in command of our own lives.

Watch out for the language of victimhood – at the very least you can choose how you will react to any situation.  You always have the option to make your re-action a thoughtful action.  If nothing else, you will feel better for taking responsibility for everything that comes afterward.

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