At the Mountain Experience, I introduce the map of consciousness I call Levels of One Self. On this map I introduce Level II: Exchange. Among other aspects of being at this level of consciousness, Exchange is when we make conscious and unconscious agreements with each other in order to get what we want and need from each other. This is the level at which we entangle with other people, where we feel controlled by others ups and downs, and where we resent others for not being better than they are.
There are so many implications to understanding the impact of imbalances (giving self away) at this level that it could be its own book. However, I wanted to share one aspect that has become so evident to me recently.
The primary currency at the Exchange level is guilt; in Exchange, if I give myself to you I become a victim to you, I become a martyr to you without your participation. Now, because I have given to you, you owe me. The classic line that demonstrates this is: “After all I have done for you, the least you could do is…”.
When we are participating in life at this level we often collect and archive debts in our relationships, like little “victimhoods” all around us, and then look to collect them. You can create these debts without the other person’s permission or even knowing and then hold it against them.
On a larger scale, we can even collect “victimhoods” against life, society, God, businesses… many of us make a lifetime habit of this. It interferes with relationships and the worst part is the effort and suffering it takes to continue to carry the burden of our victimhood.
If you are going to create contracts with people, it is better to make open contracts that are clearly understood and agreed to by both parties. If you are going to give, give without expectations. As for the rest of the world, do you really want to walk in life as a victim of anything, such as the economy, politics, traffic…?
Start noticing your victimhood, or your collection of debts and unfairness’s, and write them down and keep track of them (at least this way you won’t have to keep thinking about them as you have them in a safe place). See if you can become aware of the burden you experience by carrying them, see if you can recognize the damage they are doing to your relationships. Over time keep adding to your list so you can track your habit, as you become more clear of areas where you may perceive yourself as victim, you may want to authentically cross some things off your list forgiving yourself and others. Note what you feel when you cross something off your list. Over time, you may find that instead of growing, your list is shrinking. Freeing yourself from victimhood is a powerful step in your evolution.