Are Veterans A Special Case?


by James Greenshields

This post may challenge many service personnel, but I know by your choice to serve you are up for the challenge.

The reason I help People to get results when I work with them is because I tell them how it is; I call the ‘white elephant in the room’. I help them be honest and accountable to the only person that matters – themselves. Yet being brutally honest with myself, I haven’t done this with myself about the veterans issue until today.

I realized something today about the Veterans Program we’re running. This is the first veterans specific program I’ve run in a number of years. I thought it appropriate to explain why, and change that.

As many will know I served on operations in East Timor and Iraq.

I believe there is nothing special about being a veteran.

I believe there is something special about being a Person.

There are policeman, teachers, doctors, mothers, fathers and so many others that on a daily basis go above and beyond the call of duty to aid other People, or make the world a better place.

We are told many things as to why service personnel are amazing. And I firmly agree they are amazing, as is everyone. We are told that service personnel defend our country to ensure we maintain the standard of living we do. This is a general argument designed to be infallible and unquestionable, that hasn’t been true since WW2, and what it does is allows the perpetuation of a victim mentality – I served therefore I deserve. This in an amazing group of People with so much going for them.

The first response from a victim mind is rebuttal, which comes from a place of anger. Anger is about personal boundaries being violated, or your expectations of the world not being met. And no one, especially someone who’s spoken an oath to defend a cause they see as greater than themselves, will want to hear that. But it’s important to understand we often place personal boundaries down to defend against our own fears, or what we don’t yet understand.

‘I served therefore I deserve’ is not a mentality that is going to get anyone anything. It is one of the reasons why amazing People struggle with the transition from the armed forces, or with getting back to ‘normal life’ upon return from operations in warzones.

If you feel a need to belong, a need to deploy, a need to get promoted, a need for any part of what the military provides, then you have an element of victim consciousness. Is there anything wrong with that? No. Now this may be very hard to understand currently, but to say there is something wrong is to judge, which is another symptom of victim consciousness. The need in you simply means you currently do not have a choice because of your state of mind.

What some People do is run away from, or lash out at, the military without realizing they have as much need as the person in the military.

In the 19th Century the Officer Corps of the Military were known as a part of the intelligentsia of society. So many incredible advances in modern medicine have come from operating theatres in warzones. Why then in the present day do we allow a victim mentality to exist amongst such great People?

If we are to truly honour those who have fought and died for something they believed in, then allowing ourselves to see our True Self as much more than just a ‘veteran’ is a start. And start to show society that, as the WWII Jewish survivor of Dachau and Auschwitz, Viktor Frankl said, ‘suffering ceases to be suffering once meaning is found.’ Currently, with depression rates as high as they are in Australia, especially in young men, surely this is a priceless gift.

A service person is not just the rank, medals or uniform. But it’s hard at times to see, especially if you’ve been part of the culture for a long time. There is a sense of homeliness about the culture. That homeliness comes from a feeling of like-mindedness. Asking whether like-mindedness is bedded in a victim consciousness could be a great question. And the next great question to ask yourself is “Who is my True Self?”

Loved ones of service personnel will love their partners whether they wore a uniform or not. They love them for who they really are.

A person who knows who they truly are is able to wear any uniform to maximum affect, because they choose.

I’ve been called ahead of my time by some people, and I know what I have said today will be too much for some. I understand that, as I myself have been there. But I realize no person who has served his or her country needs another to stand and carry on the same old discussion that simply aids to wallow in the mud. You may in time use this discussion to explore and choose another reality. We all have a choice.

So the change I’m making now is that we don’t run veterans programs. We are running a program to help People who want to help themselves, who want to own their life and want to release crap they know no longer serves them. You will be amongst other Men who want the same.


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