Consciousness, self-awareness, is in the moment between a stimulus and a response. Imagination allows us to frame a different response than the one programmed in genetically, socially, emotionally, or physically. Conscience gives us a moral grounding of the rightness or wrongness of the responses available, and free will allows us to choose which response we have.
Consciousness is the freedom to choose.
This does not mean you always get to choose the circumstances - no matter what blind blowhards claim, we don't have power over wind, weather, earthquake, other's mindsets and behavior, or mechanical problems. What it means is that one of the very things that defines you as a human is that you can choose how you react.
Your behavior is a function of your decisions, not your conditions.
You have the initiative and the responsibility to make things happen. You are responsible for your own life.
Responsibility comes from "response" and "ability" - the ability to choose your response. Do not blame circumstances, conditions, conditioning, God, Allah, society, the Devil, or the government for your behavior. Your behavior is a product of your own conscious choice, and you choose your values, including whether or not to discard them and base your behavior on condition and feeling.
Do you choose to react to every change in the weather, to allow your mood to be driven and determined by the sunshine or the gloom, or the political weather, or the tides of your social life? Or do you choose to be driven by values, and if you value good work or your own well-being, to be driven by that no matter the sunshine or hte hurtful things people say?
As Ghandi said, "They cannot take away our self-respect if we do not give it to them." It is your willing permission, your consent to what happens to you, that hurts you more than what happened to you in the first place.
If you choose to define yourself as a victim, and to remain a victim, that is your choice, and no one but you can change that. All the money in the world, all the aid concerts and talk shows, all the shoulders to cry on and helping hands reaching out, therapy and benefits, will not be able to rescue you from victim-hood.
You are responsible for your own life. You are responsible for your dreams. You are responsible for your own survival.
I am responsible for my own life. I am responsible for my own dreams. I am responsible for my own survival.
I may be broke sometimes, but I'm not poor. I may have had bad things happen to me, but I'm not a victim. I may have to leave a place behind, but I'm not a refugee. I may be different from you, but I'm not a "disadvantaged minority".
I'm living my dreams. You can sit there in the mud and cry, or you can join me - I'm just on the other side of a state of mind.