I woke up from victim consciousness. It was one of the most liberating transformations I’ve ever encountered. Here’s how it happened:
In the 90s I considered myself a gay activist. I wasn’t marching out in the streets in a lot in gay pride parades, but I was certainly in the mindset of fierce activism and had very strong viewpoints about the entire subject matter. I had no problem sharing those viewpoints. I thought of the white middle to upper class straight community as the enemy, the oppressor, the ignorant fools who were making my life and the lives of my gay, lesbian, and transgender brothers and sisters hell on earth.
It seemed like, around every corner, we were fighting a new fight – including finding ways to protect our community from gay-bashing and other violence, challenging the sodomy laws that made it illegal for gay people to have sex in many states up until the late 90s, to fighting for equal rights in the workplace and housing, to the fight for gay marriage.
It was no wonder I was angry and afraid. Everyday after grade school I would have to hide from gay-bashers whose source of entertainment was to corner me after school, physically attack me and then chase me home. My anger also came from the deficiency story instilled in me at a young age as I watched anti-gay protests on TV telling me that God hates me because I’m a fag and that I’m destined to burn in hell. I spent years working in the restaurant business being harassed by management everyday for being gay. I would go to parties and inevitably would have to leave once some drunk guy or group of people decided it would be fun to sit and call me names all night until I left.
I knew that these homophobic people were just ignorant and scared. But I wasn’t going to let their ignorance and fear trample over my rights as a US citizen – the right to be left alone…
I even went so far as to write a letter to the US Supreme Court begging the court to allow gay marriage. Three years later the court did just that. The activism by so many gay, lesbian and transgendered people has certainly made great strides.
But in the meantime, during all my activism something started to feel “off.” I had begun to explore non-dual awakening and self inquiry and it was changing the way I saw myself and the world. I saw that my activism was not coming from a place of empowerment. On the surface many activists portray power in their activist movements. But quite often the activism is coming from a collective trauma forced upon the LGBTQIA community. The trauma comes from growing up in a world that either hates you or wishes you weren’t here on earth. On top of trauma being a motivating force for much of my activism I was also motivated by my own deficiency stories. The message a young gay man or woman received from the world prior to recent years is “there is something fundamentally wrong with you.”
That didn’t make sense to me. I was a good kid with a kind heart who cared about people deeply. But society seemed to want to overlook that and reduce the entire value of me as a person down to who I sleep with or chose to love. So I fought the powers that be. But what I found along the way is that fighting when you are motivated by trauma and low self-esteem is much less effective than coming from confidence, peace, clarity, wisdom, fearlessness, and a true sense of who you really are. These attributes are infinitely more powerful because they do not come from victimhood.
You see, victim consciousness is disempowering. It comes from a false perception.
We cannot be made to feel like victims unless we allow others to define us in that way. Victimhood is a deficiency story, whether it feels real or not.
That is not intended to condone the atrocities that have been perpetrated by dominant majorities against minorities. But victim consciousness is an identity. It is not what we we truly are. It’s the identity we picked up along the way as we faced oppression. Victims are often beggars, believing on some level that they are in fact less valuable than other humans. The entire stance is ineffective. Many activists do not have a high enough sense of self or sense of empowerment to break out of victim consciousness and move into a more empowering way of addressing inequalities. Without breaking free of victim consciousness victims often self sabotage their attempts at fighting the perpetrators or oppressors. The victim consciousness is so deeply embedded into ego that it fights to stay alive, desperately clinging to the victim identity which disempowers them precisely because victims automatically give their power away and and play the underdog instead of moving through the victim mentality and finding a more mature and powerful voice that calls for action from a true and authentic place of empowerment.
The reason victimhood doesn’t always work well is that when people hold themselves out as victims they are often then treated by others that way, thereby perpetuating the power imbalance between oppressor and minority victims. It’s easy for oppressors to dismiss victims because the oppressors cannot see that the victimhood has resulted from years of oppression.
And so the oppressors often miss the fundamental message being put forth by activists. Victims are easily dismissed in our culture, which has this prevailing view that everyone should be able to make it in this world without “whining”: “Just pull up your boot straps and get over it,” we hear so often.
There is a disconnect, a misunderstanding, and an imbalance in the power dynamics between the oppressors and the victims of the oppressors.
Now these groups can still continue fighting. But what we resist persists. Fighting has a way of solidifying each sides’ argument… that’s how the ego works. It just wants to be right and to argue and therefore nothing new can come into that debate. It defends its position because it is defending the self. And so people cannot truly hear each other in civil rights debates such as Black Lives Matter, the fight for rights for women and the LGBTQIA community.
So what gives? I could not step out of that activist world until I had a non-dual awakening and began the process of inquiry. Inquiry showed me that although being gay is an extension of my expression on earth it is not who or what I am. This was a major realization for me. Once that realization dawned, I instantly let go of the fight for gay rights. I didn’t drop that fight because I stopped caring. I stopped because the deficiency story, self-esteem issues and trauma were resolved through our Kiloby Inquiries.
Now I’m not a typical activist at all. I simply live my life as a gay man. I am happy! I don’t have anything to prove. I don’t mind speaking up when I hear ignorance or homophobia. But the most important thing is that I am eternally at peace with who I am. I don’t have an identity crisis. As such I can simply live my life as a gay man without making a bunch of hoopla about it. I don’t have to be driven by trauma and pain anymore.
These days I call myself gay but that part of my experience is just one aspect. I still watch my brothers and sisters fighting so hard for justice. And I commend them. But I also invite each of them to do the inner work around all these subjects.
Try our Kiloby Inquiries and move from victimhood to empowerment! When you have worked through your deficiency stories (eg “I’m not good enough” or “I’m not as valuable as straight people”) the world looks very different. Now I change minds about these important issues not by being an activist but rather by being completely transparent and open, letting people into my world so that they can see I am no different than them in many ways. That’s what transforms the world, one relationship at a time. The fear, insecurity and feelings of deficiency are gone. And from that new sense of empowerment the world can be changed.
Real change comes from clarity, not just anger and fear.
If you lead your activist movements with anger and fear you merely solidify the anger and fear on the other side of the debate. It’s time to speak from clarity. If our homophobic counterparts cannot come from clarity that should not deter our efforts. Clarity wins out in the end. Anger, hatred and violence from either side might get people’s attention but clear, open communication is the real key. And to be able to speak and act from that level some work needs to be done. Think of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Harvey Milk. They found that empowerment within and did not operate on sheer victimhood. We can learn a lot from them!
Join the mindful revolution as it applies to civil rights: visit www.kiloby.com