“Why Me?” Is Always The Wrong Question

whining, victim, accountability, leadership

Why me?” is the easiest question to ask — yet theres no value in it at all.

I grew up in a good family. My father was successful and popular, my mom loving and giving. My parents never divorced. We didnt ever go hungry. Hence, some people assume I’ve lived a “charmed life.”

Well, it’s not all been charming …

The truth is, my dad battled alcoholism, my mom unexpectedly died at 51-years-old of a brain aneurysm days before I turned 17, and Ive suffered from a chronic illness that comes and goes since I was 20.

However, life has been plenty good … and when I refrain from “Why me?” it’s even better.

Im a 62-year-old author and professional speaker with 7 offspring and 12 grandchildren. I’ve even had the same terrific wife since 1980. Karen is a real blessing to me. However, weve had our marital struggles, big time.

Im pretty sure she has asked, Why me?” on some days! ?

Who Can Ask “Why me?”

Truthfully, any of us could ask Why me?” What does that do for me?

Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

The moment I ask Why me?” Ive declared Im a victim, and heres the problem with victim thinking: It serves no one. Not even … me.

All humans must fight the desire to feel and act like a victim. We must constantly strive to be vigilant. Why? Because life is better in all respects when Im not playing the victim.

How can I become a better me when I’m feeling sorry for myself? And who doesn’t want to be a better me? ?

There is No Value in “Why me?”

Simply put, nothing good comes from victim-itis. Here are five <negative> realities of Victim Thinking:

1. When I’m a victim, nothing is my fault.

2. When I’m a victim, there are no expectations of me.

3. When I’m a victim, someone always owes me.

4. When I’m a victim, no personal growth is required.

5. When I’m a victim, anger and entitlement rule my life.

Go ahead, reread that list, please. Do you want any to exist in your life?

I don’t in mine.

Overcoming “Why me?”

I wrote the QBQ! book on Personal Accountability to help us guard against victim thinking. When life goes against me, I can follow the victim path — or ask accountable questions (we call them QBQs, here’s a brief tutorial) like, What can I do to learn from this experience?” How can I move forward today?” and “What can I do right now to be my best?”

So, the question becomes — for you and for me —will I ask Why me?” or QBQs today? As always, the choice is mine.

Of our 5 realities of Victim Thinking above, which has been prevalent in my life?

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4 Responses

  1. I enjoy reading QBQ emails and wanted to comment on this particular one.

    How about asking “why not me?” I found this to be powerful in helping me put my “journey” with breast cancer in perspective. Everyone has “stuff” and some are fortunate to have the ability to look beyond self pity and forge a path forward.

    Thanks for giving an opportunity to comment.

  2. It might be helpful to some people if you discuss the reason the question “Why me?” arises in our minds. One of our strongest human drives is seeking meaning — the urge to understand the whys and hows of what we encounter in life. So when something (especially something negative) happens to us and not to everyone else, we wonder “Why me?”. This is very natural, and also reflects our desire to be able to control the world around us — if we understand why we were singled out for this negative impact, perhaps it might help us avoid other negative happenings in the future. I think the QBQ book does an excellent job of helping an individual understand how they can decrease the likelihood of future negative happenings, since when we take action to improve situations, we are more likely to be able to help shape the future. So just having the question “Why me?” arise in your mind is not a problem — the problem comes when, lacking a good answer to this question, a person concludes “it must be because I am being victimized, and I have to accept that I am a victim”. Books and articles have been written on why there is no good answer to this question (for example, the book “Why Bad Things Happen to Good People” by Rabbi Harold Kushner or the blog post at https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/finding-purpose/201910/why-do-bad-things-happen-good-people by psychiatrist Ralph Lewis). So my personal conclusion is that having the question “Why me?” occur to you is not bad — but it is bad, for you and for people around you, if you conclude that the answer is that you are doomed to being a victim, and so you decide to take no action. It is much more constructive to conclude: “I have no idea why me, but I want to move forward with my life anyway” and use the QBQ approach to identify steps you can take.

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