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Why me, again? Why not me, again?

Why me, again? Why not me, again?

I know I've written about this before but it keeps coming up. Last week I was in a group when someone lamented that a three-year-old got cancer. It just seems so unfair. Sometimes there are just no satisfying answers to the question, Why? Thinking of it reminded again of The Farmer's Tale which would ask the corollary -- Why not?

We often think "why me" when something bad happens -- we're stricken ill, suddenly unemployed, on the receiving end of a break-up. But "why me" can go with so-called good news, too. You hit the lottery. You found the lost wedding ring. And it can get very muddled up in survivor's guilt where something *good* can feel bad -- why am I okay and others are not?

Social psychologists have identified a common behavior named the fundamental attribution error. That's when we attribute good or bad outcomes (as we judge them) more heavily to someone's personality and tend to underestimate the situation. We blame the victim or sing the praises of the victor. And, we don't just do this to others; we do it to ourselves. So, remember that humility I talked about last week. More often than talent or personality, it is circumstance or environment that bears on the outcome of a situation.

That said, the truth is that we do have control over our life; just maybe not so much as we think. But, that's never a reason to give up. As Alan Watts says in the short video, life is complicated and everything is interrelated. We can never know what the outcome will be of events we judge to be good or bad in the moment.

This would be a good time to recall The Four Agreements:

· Be impeccable with your word

· Don't take anything personally

· Don't make assumptions

· Always do your best

Good rules to live by.

(And a very happy birthday, Kate!)


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