Why Me is the question of someone who views life as things happening TO them versus them doing something. Before I get cyber-stoned for this statement, I UNDERSTAND that terrible things do happen TO people– whether it’s an illness, a death, or any other countless, crappy things for which we do not have control in the tangible sense. It happened, and it sucks. No question.
At the same time, “why me” seems to imply that you were the target. That the world is against you. “Why me” mindsets can dangerously derail us from the bigger ways of thinking and living. Injustice and misfortune does abound as a fixture of reality but the “why me” reaction to aforementioned keeps us bound as victims, versus protagonists, survivors and writers of our own stories.
Most of us are struggling for a sense of control in a world that is in many ways, out of our control. We use various things in order to do this. Some use their anger, some use their silence, some manipulate. I think it’s a safe bet to say at some point, we all use our intellect and ability to reason – that’s where questions like the one asked above, come from. We think if we can understand why something happens, then perhaps we cancontrol that happening and, as in the case of something painful or traumatic, prevent it from happening again.
While I think it’s certainly useful to examine events, to understand the role we played in them and glean what wisdom we can from them, ultimately the vast majority of whyquestions are pretty useless and Why me? is probably the most useless among them.
I really don’t think there is an answer to Why me? The only half-way decent answer I can think of is really just another question and one you don’t want to hear, Why not me? As near as I can tell, sometimes stuff just happens. Some things can be traced back to a cause in which we bear much (if not all of the responsibility), but so often there is no apparent cause, no reason to be uncovered, no great mystery.
I read a lovely quote in a book awhile back that said this, “Accident rules every corner of the universe except the chambers of the human heart.” I think there’s an awful lot of truth to that statement. In light of that, I’ve tried to stop asking a lot of thewhy questions. A better question is, I think, What now?
Read Albert Ellis’ “How to Stubbornly Make Yourself Refuse to be Miserable about Anything.” Ellis challenges us to look past our misery by recognizing it as part of a constructed frame of shoulds, oughts, musts, and necessities. So, a boss might most certainly not be the embodiment of good management which adds layers of onus to my job, more rapids to navigate/dodge and flaws to a process which was not the job I signed up for. So, a loved one screwed me (not in the pleasurable tactile way). So, I am a good and earnest person but XYZ happened. So, I grew up an orphan. So, I grew up abused. So, I struggle with anorexia nervosa. I never did anything to ask for this. So, I’m technically wronged and cast into an upstream-crap of a battle.
So, crap is the status quo of the world. Ellis says essentially, so flipping what? Why should anything be good and gravy? Why should we expect people to act like angels or for operations to go swimmingly or for people to see the good in our ideas or for anything to go right? Why should a tip-top, ship-shape environment be a necessary component for us to thrive? It shouldn’t. In fact, for most dubbed success stories it not only doesn’t but IS the backdrop upon which stories happened. “The moment I used my adversity to my advantage, my career exploded.” – Eminem. Ever heard of a Richard Branson, Oprah or any other figure whose story was absent of the “why me” type of happenstance? Foster care childhoods, deaths, rapes, bankruptcy, rejection and countless other misfortunes. It’s happened to all on varying levels and forms.
The crap gets pretty ugly but we can still be beautiful and crap can be part of that story in making us even more beautiful. We can rise to fill the gaps of what ‘should be’ in a storybook life. It doesn’t mean we won’t require time to wallow and feel bad for ourselves; it doesn’t mean we won’t struggle or hurt; it doesn’t mean that other people or forces of nature and institutions are pieces of crap we’d like to rest in our pool of spit; it doesn’t mean our tears are substance-less; it doesn’t mean that things turn Pleasantville and that we aren’t allowed to feel ugly or that everything around us is pretty ugly. It doesn’t mean we don’t have the right to ask “why me.”
But, what has asking why me ever done for us? Why me is a legit yet harmful rabbit hole question. Forget the why me and focus on the how. How can I say and do ‘screw you’ to this crap? How can I as a person unlike any other in the world make things better, feel better?
Even if you knew the answer to why me, then what? What’s done is done. You’re still left with a choice as to what happens next. You can (and many do) beat your head against a wall your whole life trying to understand why. Or you can decide to accept what is and ask yourself how you’re going to make the most out of the time you’ve got left.
The clock’s ticking. It’s up to you.