Chances are, at one time or another, you and everyone you know have asked the age old question, “Why me?” when something bad or unfortunate has happened to you or someone close to you. I know that I have certainly succumbed to this most familiar query.
Here’s the problem with letting this question get the best of you: you automatically lose!
That’s right, there is basically nothing good that can come from this negative way of thinking. Asking the dreaded, “Why Me?” requires you to provide a conscious (or even subconscious) answer for yourself. Here are my thoughts on two of the most common responses one may provide to such an inquiry… First, “I must have done something to someone, somewhere at some time, to deserve this kind of injustice. Otherwise, God, Buddha, or whatever other higher power out there in the Universe, would not have bestowed me with such horrible and tragic luck.” Second, “This is simply ridiculous. I know exactly what I am entitled to in this life, and this awful mess is certainly not on my list. It is completely unfair, and I know there must be some sort of cosmic mistake that caused this to happen to poor, little old me!”
Neither of these thought patterns will provide you the closure needed to get beyond the victim-hood state of mind. Unfortunately, getting past victim-hood is exactly what is needed to get on the road to happiness.
Are you ready for some good news? How about this… you can change this way of thinking right now. Not tomorrow, not in an hour, not even when you finish reading this article. I mean, Now! It happened to me and it can happen for you.
Let me explain how this summer became a turning point in my life and how I was literally able to change my attitude in an instant.
On Friday July 13th (of all days), I was supposed to see my kids in a Summer Camp production of, “Guys and Dolls”. I had been looking forward to this event for weeks. Upon waking that morning, I was not feeling too well. Nothing major, just a little under the weather. Within an hour, I became violently ill. I began vomiting and could not stop. I seriously could not get more than 15 steps away from the bathroom without having to go back and suffer the consequences. After this continued for a few hours, I had no choice but to call 911. I was rushed to the ER and they simply wrote it off as food poisoning or the flu. I was given fluids and anti-nausea medication via IV, and rested there for the next several hours. After returning home, I knew I would need several days to recover simply because of what my body had gone through.
Clearly, I had missed seeing my kids in their play, and now I was going to miss our family vacation. We had planned a trip to go up North for five days and were locked into that schedule if we didn’t want to forfeit our money. My wife ended up taking the kids so as not to disappoint. After all, this was their planned summer vacation and we didn’t want them to miss it. I stayed home and recuperated from my ER episode.
At this point, I must admit that I did have a bit of the, “Why me?” question in the back of my mind. First, I missed seeing the kids in their camp production and then I missed our family vacation. I really couldn’t think of what I had done to deserve this misfortune.
Little did I know what was yet to come!
I returned to work the following week and followed up by seeing a doctor. There was the possibility of a hernia, perhaps caused by all the vomiting, and I was also examined more extensively but it seemed that my problem was behind me.
I was having some intermittent stomach pain and returned for another follow up the following week, but again, nothing turned up. I went about my regular routine, exercising and putting in some pretty long hours at work when I realized that the stomach pain was not going away. The pain was not acute, but I knew it was there and not normal.
Upon returning to the doctor yet again, I asked if they could screen me for an ulcer. Maybe that was the cause of my pain. They performed a C.A.T. scan and instantaneously gave me the news. I had been walking around with a ruptured appendix and had to immediately be admitted to the hospital. The surgeon told me he would most likely have to open me up since doing a laparoscopic procedure is usually not an option once a rupture occurs. He also said there was a chance that he may have to take some of my colon and of course, the operation may in fact result in death. I was not thrilled to hear this news, but understood this disclaimer must be given before just about any surgery.
Luckily, I awoke from the surgery to learn that I was able to keep my entire colon…. A fact for which I was immediately grateful!
I spent the next five days in the hospital, receiving flowers, balloons and goodies from family, friends and co-workers. It was such a wonderful feeling knowing that so many people were concerned about me.
I returned home to a giant banner that my kids had made me, proclaiming, “Welcome Home Daddy!” It was truly heart warming to say the very least.
As I continued my recovery at home and ultimately returned to work, I could not help researching my ailment online. I learned that I was one of a handful of cases whose body walled off the toxins into one particular part of the body. This allowed me to keep the poisons contained so that the successful surgery was possible.
There have been many others who were no where near as fortunate as I was. It didn’t take long for me to shift my thinking from, “Why me? Why did this horrible thing happen to me? What did I do to deserve this?” to one of, “Why me? Why was I one of the lucky ones to survive such a dangerous, life threatening illness and enjoy a full and complete recovery?” Honestly, I have still not returned to a level of 100%. However, as you can tell from my enthusiasm, there is not a doubt in my mind that I will make a full and complete recovery. This event has also given me a first hand way for me to communicate the power of gratitude to others. I am so grateful to be alive and have learned about the benefits of keeping such a thankful attitude.
Please give it a try. Don’t let the victim-hood, entitlement mind-set take over your life. Begin thinking, “Why Me?” when good things happen to you. If you get that promotion, raise or award… think to yourself, “Wow, why was I the lucky one?”
You should start feeling a sense of well being and happiness much sooner than you think!
It will look like this: From A Question of Victim-Hood To A Position of Victor-Hood