We all suffer from adversity. Sometimes the cause of our adversity is clear. The college student who gets drunk the night before a big test knows why he did poorly on the exam.
Often, however, the cause of our adversity is not clear. Perhaps we or a loved one becomes seriously ill. Maybe the company we work for goes out of business. Or a natural disaster destroys our home. In those cases, most of us have asked, “Why me?” or sometimes, “Why is life so unfair?”
The problem is neither question helps us deal with our adversity. When we focus our attention on the past by asking why, we often feel powerless. And that can extend and amplify our suffering.
Rather than lamenting the source of our misfortune, we usually can be better served by focusing on how we can learn from this experience to create a better future for us and our loved ones.
The next time you find yourself asking “Why me?” try asking yourself this question instead: “Where might this experience be taking me, and who might I become as a result?
If you catch yourself asking “Why is life so unfair?” try asking yourself, “How might I grow by being fully present in this experience?”
By shifting our focus from the past to the present, we can shift our mindset from helpless victimhood to empowerment. And isn’t that a better place to be?
Source: Estelle Frankel, Sacred Therapy: Jewish Spiritual Teachings on Emotional Healing and Inner Wholeness, page 178.