I used to ask, “why me?” frequently. It seemed to me my lot in life was unfair. It seemed the amount of suffering I endured was disproportionately harsh compared to my peers. Of course, I didn’t stop to think that compared to others in this world, my life was relatively easy and trouble-free.
Still, where we live is our reality; comparisons are pointless.
So is asking “why me?”
I mention Stoicism in this blog, at times. I’ve been reading it in dribs and drabs over the last few years. Not as much as I could, but enough that some of the ideas have taken hold.
Some of them have been quite helpful.
The idea that there’s no point in worrying about things that aren’t in our control. The idea that very little is in our control. The idea that we are in control of our thoughts.
And the idea of, “why not me?”
“Why not me?” I read the words and was shocked. I’d never looked at the things I’d lived through in quite that light before.
I have an underlying belief that I am flawed in some way, and that’s why bad things happen to me. That my basically corrupt nature is why I struggle with mental illness. I encounter problems because I’m wrong. That’s the answer I came up with in response to the “why me?” question.
But “why not me?” lets you think about things in another way. It lets you look at your experiences with fresh eyes. It makes the conclusion that bad things happen to you because you’re fundamentally worthless harder to sustain.
Things happen to you because why not you? They’re going to happen to someone. The fact that they happened to you is happenstance and not due to a fatal flaw.
I was molested repeatedly at age eight by the teenage brother of a friend. I used to wonder what I did wrong. I used to wonder what it was about me that caused it to happen. I’m starting to look at that event and others with different eyes.
The teenage boy in question was damaged, no doubt. Something happened to him, or something in his makeup made him predisposed to abuse others. He was going to abuse someone. Why not me? Nothing in life guarantees us safety. Nothing about life suggests that we’re exempt from bad things happening. But there’s nothing about me that caused it.
There’s nothing about me that causes bad things to happen.
I’m still struggling with that proposition, still struggling to accept that I’m not broken in some way, that I didn’t do something wrong, that I wasn’t something wrong.
“Why not me” goes a long way towards helping me readjust my thinking.
I’m spending a lot of time thinking about it and trying to work it into my thought patterns.
Being able to put the belief that I’m wrong and therefore deserving of hard times to rest will be a relief.
Because really, why not me?