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Right Side of Wrong


Throughout our lives, we encounter people, situations, and circumstances that strike a nerve and cause us to cry out:

“That’s not fair!”
“That is so wrong!”
“That pisses me off!”

… or some version of the same sentiment. You get the point. We notice something in our life or larger world that is a clear violation of the way things should be, so we call it out and become “justifiably outraged.” Why? Well, because it is wrong.

But what if it isn’t?

If we live in a world where there are no accidents and everything happens for a reason, then how could it possibly be “wrong?”

Quick aside: I fully understand that this is one of the ideas that it is easy to adopt as a matter of convenience. For example, it’s easy to say “everything happens for a reason” when someone you know loses their job, or gets left by their spouse. But when it’s your job or your spouse or some situation that is just too “real” for you, then it’s OK do indulge in a little outrage, right?

Wrong. I mean right.
What I really mean, most sincerely, is this. It’s your choice.

Justifiable victimhood is an indulgence you can certainly enjoy. It feels good to stand above your circumstances and cast down your judgments of fairness or rightness. But like any indulgence, there is a downside – an eventual cost that must be reconciled.

The cost of complaining, or stewing in the toxic negativity you observe is that you begin to experience it in greater volume and frequency. It becomes your world, and it will consume you.

When you chose to “call out” the problems of your world, you deny the responsibility to deal with them, or to accept responsibility for their occurrence. This is essentially a stalling tactic, and there is nothing inherently wrong with it. Again, it’s an indulgence. Just realize that the longer you choose to stay in “blame mode,” the longer you must endure the hardships you so despise.

Am I suggesting that we ignore the problems of our world? Not at all. I’m suggesting that we see them for what they are, which is illustrations of ourselves. When we notice something “outrageous,” we generally are pointing to a quality within ourselves we know needs some work. Even the enormity of “world events” can be interpreted as our personal issues needing attention. Granted, they are blown up into greater proportions and generally set at a distance so that we can fully appreciate them. But I believe they are manifestations of the struggles we face in our own thoughts. And in order to change your external world, you must first do some work internally.

What needs work?

When you are ready to move on from victimhood, simply ask, “What do I need to change about me?” You might need to rethink some of your beliefs. Maybe you need to make some apologies. Or extend forgiveness where it has never been earned. Perhaps the work involves changing the way you talk … or listen … or simply learning to sit still and do nothing but contemplate the stillness and silence around you.

I have some work to do. How about you?

  • Mike says:

    The secular world provides simplistic and superficial solutions and are even expressed in clever sayings such as ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade’. I would argue that the only real solution for the ‘victim mentality’ (which we all experience and struggle with at some or multiple points in our lives) or to the feeling of helplessness, or loss of control of your situation, is to belief and trust in a sovereign (all powerful, completely in control) God. “But you, Sovereign Lord, help me for your name’s sake; out of the goodness of your love, deliver me.” Psalm 109:21. The ‘work we need to do’ is to read the New Testament. It changes attitudes and lives overall like nothing else in this world, because it is not of this world!

  • Andy K. says:

    Excellent topic, Dan! “If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change.” You and MJ are right on target!
    Keep making me think, Dan. I do really appreciate it.

  • Tak Kurtz says:

    The perspective that you speak of that others from further away can see…
    is also what time offers, when enough time has past that you can see it for what it was.
    But it is so important that you pointed out that it is an indulgence. And the longer that one stays in the indulgence…
    the longer he will stay in that place that he doesn’t like.
    It is so true.

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