A Tale of Two Brothers


Dr. Hans Selye, a pioneer in helping us understand stress, once told a story about two boys who grew up in the same home with an alcoholic and abusive father.  Adulthood took them down separate paths with differing priorities and life decisions.

Many years later, both men participated in the same psychological study, though each did it separately.  In-depth interviews with each one showed just how different they had become.  One would have nothing to do with alcohol and had become an upstanding and well-respected citizen in his community.  The other had followed his father’s example and become an alcoholic with a path of destruction in his wake.

When asked what factors influenced each brother’s lifestyle, both men returned the same answer, “What else would you expect when you have a father like mine?”

It’s not what happened to you; it’s how you responded to what happened to you that has created the person that you have become.  Have you chosen to become the victim or the victor?

If you chose the victim’s role, the sooner you accept accountability for your choices, the sooner you will begin to heal.  Blame and resentment over what happened to you only gives the other person or thing a never-ending supply of power over your life.  If you chose the victor’s role, then you undoubtedly know the truth behind the maxim, “That which doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.”

Life has many things to teach us, but we have to show up ready to learn.

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Filed under acceptance, accountability, blame, character, Denial, growth, learned helplessness, overcoming obstacles, parenting, self-image

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