post written by: Marc Chernoff

6 Questions You Need To Stop Asking Yourself


6 Questions You Need To Stop Asking Yourself

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”
―Voltaire

If you keep asking yourself the wrong questions, you will never get an answer you like.

So take a deep breath and stop asking…

1.  “Why don’t they like me?”

The worst misery and loneliness is to feel unsure of yourself – like everyone else is ahead of you somehow.  When you’re feeling insecure like this, you don’t notice the hundreds of people around you who accept you just the way you are.  All you notice are the few who don’t.

Don’t let your insecurities bully you into a corner.  Don’t be your own victim.  Forget whether or not everyone else likes you, and focus on loving yourself more.  Accept, define and believe in the person you are.  For once you sincerely do, so will the rest of the people in your life who truly matter to you.

2.  “What will they think?”

Here’s a wake-up call for you:  When you’re worried about what others think of you, you’re really just worried about what you think of yourself.

At times you may flatter yourself indirectly by thinking that every little fault you see in yourself is also present in the minds of everyone around you, as if these people are constantly contemplating your personal strengths and weaknesses.  But the truth is, 99.9% of the time, they aren’t.

And regardless of whether others are judging you or not, you can’t control what they think.  The only thing you can control is yourself.  Some people will look down on you for your decisions in life no matter what they are.  You can’t do anything about that.  The only thing you can do is live in such a way that brings peace to your own heart and mind.  (Read The Untethered Soul.)

3.  “What’s missing?”

Sometimes your biggest source of unhappiness comes from the fact that you keep thinking about where else you could be or who else you would like to become, rather than appreciating where you are and who you are now, and how far you’ve come to make this moment true.

In other words, much of what you call “unhappiness” is really just dissatisfaction as a result of overlooking the beautiful aspects of your life that you take for granted every day.  So how about you flip this question around and ask yourself: “What do I have now that I will miss when it’s gone?”

4.  “What if I’m not good enough?”

A fear of being defeated is what warrants your defeat.  A fear of not being good enough is what guarantees that you never will be.

If you never pick up that keyboard, or pencil, or paintbrush, or whatever instrument you use to craft your work, because you’re afraid that someone else might do it better than you, your prediction will automatically come true.  Remember, defeat is not the worst of failures.  Not having tried at all is as bad as it gets.

And as far as failure itself is concerned, you’re not obligated not to fail.  You’re obligated to keep trying – to do the best you can do every day.  That’s all.  And you’re always good enough to do that.  (Read Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.)

5.  “How can I possibly move on?”

You CAN live without the people and situations of the past.  Period.

Life is change.  People and circumstances really do come and go every day.  Some stay in our lives longer than others, but everything eventually ends – it’s the cycle of life.  This is how it’s supposed to be.

If someone or something comes into your life and has a positive impact on you, but for some reason things change, don’t mourn for too long.  Be thankful that your paths crossed and that that you got the chance to experience something wonderful while it lasted.  Just because it ended, doesn’t make it any less amazing.

And remember, when one positive light in your life burns out, don’t use it as an excuse to shield yourself from all the other sources of light shining around you.  Continue to appreciate what you have now, and smile about the memories.  (Angel and I discuss this process of letting go and moving on in the Adversity chapter of 1000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

6.  “Why me?”

If you think that only a privileged few have the ability to live a great life, you are sabotaging yourself.  You are privileged – to be alive – to have this opportunity.

If every morning you wake up and say, “Yes, today is going to be a great day.”  And every afternoon you find a reason to say, “Yes, today is a great day.”  And every night you find a reason to say, “Yes, today was a great day.”  Then one day, many moons from now, you’ll look back, smile at the memories and say, “Yes, I lived a great life!

Be the one of the valiant few who looks at their dreams and says, “WHY NOT ME?” and then goes for it!

The floor is yours…

What would you add to the list?  What negative questions do you sometimes ask yourself?  Please leave a comment below and let us know.

Photo by: Jan Faborsky

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67 Comments

  • Wow! This post was one I desperately needed tonight.

  • Nailed it as usual! Thanks for this valuable insight!

  • This is awesome Marc. I stumbled across your blog about a year ago. I keep visiting it everyday. I like your simplicity and the way you make these ideas come alive. :)

  • I strongly agree with 5 questions and I have a small clarification on the 5th question. I feel, only when you ask yourself, “how can I move on?” will you get positive solutions.

    Please correct me if I am wrong, or give me your thoughts.

  • Too often I ask myself: “Why haven’t I achieved that yet?”

    I look around at some of my peers and I feel like they are ahead of me. I know it’s something I need to stop. This post gave me a good kick right where I needed it. Thank you.

  • “Why can’t I make this work, despite trying so hard?”

    Sometimes you really want to do something and you do try hard, but it just doesn’t work…So frustrating…

    But then I read all the success stories and realize that those people failed a lot of times. They just kept at it and didn’t consider giving-up.

    You will eventually succeed if you learn from mistakes, work hard and put passion into something! :)

  • It’s hard to read some questions like these that describe me truly and completely…

  • ‘What else?’ - sometimes, it’s OK to be as it is and be appreciative…

    Martin

  • Why doesn’t he/she love me and accept me? Why am I not good enough or interesting enough?

  • Wonderful words of wisdom!

  • Love it! “What is missing?” - NOTHING. The moment is precisely what should be. If you need change, recognition is the start.

  • Very encouraging. This is what I wanted to read, in my hour of need.
    Thank you.

  • Thank you. I was challenged the last several hours, and this post was exactly what I needed to change my perspective.

  • That question “why me” is one that people always seem to ask themselves after something bad has happened - usually after trauma. It is important to move on and learn from it but it is difficult and easy to get stuck there.
    Thanks for your blog, I just love it!!

  • “What if….” Most of the time “what ifs” are scenarios that can really play havoc on your mind. They typically are not “good” scenarios but those horrible, frightening scenarios that you get yourself worked up over that never occur. AND if the “worst case” does occur you can deal with it better in reality than in your mind’s scenario!

  • I keep asking myself “why me?” When I am in trouble, I feel that everybody else is much happier. Sometimes I cat myself sitting and wondering why God has punished me like this when I’ve done no harm to anybody…

  • Mainly, stop blaming yourself and don’t complicate your life… don’t over analyze and keep it simple.

  • “Why am I such an idiot?” … I’m way to hard on myself.

  • Perfect timing. Exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you!

  • Day after day, I read your blog and day after day, I am inspired by the way you lay out an organize these principles. Something always rings true and helps me enormously when things get tough. I have noticed a change in the way that I see things happening around me and to me and some of this has to do with your messages.

    I feel that I am getting stronger and more positive because of them.

    Thank you.

  • Stop comparing yourself, or measuring yourself by someone else’s yardstick. They are who they are by the choices they make and you are you because of the choices you have made. If you want different, do differently.

  • This is a great list of questions to ask.

    I would add, “When will it be over?”

    If you’ve slipped into ‘victimhood’ (who hasn’t?), you’re probably frustrated and aggravated and just want your situation (or problem) to change ASAP.

    Think about your situation and journal your thoughts and feelings around it.

    Next, take responsibility for (fill in the blank).

    Does it suck knowing that YOU somehow got yourself into a sticky situation? Yes, it does (I’ve been there). But the sooner you stop resisting, the sooner you start accepting. This is important.

    Once you accept your situation, you can create a plan of action to move forward.

    We’ve all asked these and other questions. No one’s life is absolutely perfect. Then again, what is perfect? ;)

  • Bless you Marc and Angel! Thank you!

  • Great list of questions to toss!

    I try to change dis-empowering questions like, ‘When will things change?’ to empowering action oriented questions like, ‘What action can I take to change this?’

  • @Enas, you nailed my demon on the head. By nature I am very analytical and ask questions that I quite often don’t really want the answers to.

    The challenge to that nemesis is learning to enjoy what’s here right now without projecting angst, worry and fear into the future.

    I’ve already looked death in the eye and walked away unbroken. What else could be there for me to face worse than losing a spouse?

  • Excellent post. “Why do you/they blame me?” I get this a lot from extended family relations. It took me a while to figure out that blame/accusation do NOT equal guilt or fault. Judge your level of responsibility only, and then act accordingly. Everything else is outside your realm.

  • It seems that those questions are very common to be asked by people with low self-esteem. Actually with very low self-confidence. But I think that sometimes it can be worthwhile to reflect about some of these questions just for the sake of avoiding feeling depressed.
    Nice article. Thanks.

  • Awhile ago I used to ask, “when will the madness in my life end?” But thank God I changed my way of thinking. Lovely post as always Marc.

  • I think the question of ‘why me’ most likely can lead you to the path you must take, if you got the message ‘why me,’ you will figure out your purpose … thoughts?

  • Thank you for this my family, I really appreciate this motivation. I was kinda feeling a little side tracked about my life, but I do realize I’m truly blessed and have so much to give and so much to do. I’m grateful for the hobbies, talents, and knowledge I have gained through out my life. Thank you again for the reminders.

  • I find it amazing that your emails touch on things I struggle with time and again and I look forward to them so much- thank you! A question I would add is “Why is no one else going thru what I am?” But the more I read these posts and comments, the more I see that I’m really not alone in my struggles like it feels. I just wish I could find people around me willing to be open and honest and vulnerable enough to be real about what’s going on inside of them too see maybe we could all stop feeling so alone and help each other. Easier said than done though I know.

  • I never ask “what’s next”. Usually that question follows a series of difficult events. So now when things get tough, that question is off the table for me. ;-)

  • What’s wrong with me? That’s the first question that popped into my head when I read the title of this post. I remember being a tiny child and hearing my parents say “what’s wrong with you when I had misbehaved. Then one day when my own daughter was tiny I heard myself saying the same thing. I looked over my shoulder to see if my mom was there because I couldnt believe those words just popped out of my mouth. After that I tried to very aware of what I said to my daughter. But I still say it to myself sometimes.

  • Thank you for this awesome article that hits home for most of us at some point in our lives. Thank you for the logical answers to those hard questions.

  • Just what I needed to read today… Have been feeling very insecure recently. A few of these questions hit home. It’s time to reverse them.

    My addition: “Why didn’t I ____ when I had the chance?”

  • Once again: crucial information in a simple and understandable style. Thank you so much for this post. I would add: “Why is this happening?” … as if information is going to be nourishing and inspiring. Instead, I am learning to ask myself: “How can I embrace what is here, now, more fully?” Again, thank you for this wonderful site that I am totally hooked on:)

  • How could I have done that? How did I choose to do something so hurtful and wrong? Is there an edge to this planet I can fall off of? If I sink into oblivion will that erase my wrong? Where is Oblivion so I can get there quickly and get it over with?

  • Beautiful. Thank you for shining a light on the questions that trap us in the darkness. @annaliotta

  • There’s a saying that goes something like:”With age comes wisdom.” In other words when you’ve lived on this planet for a few decades or more,you tend to handle things a lot easier than you once did.

    When I was younger I got slighted very easily by people and got angry and bore grudges for a long time.But as I got older I’ve found I can just let things go most of the time,and I don’t lose sleep over trivial comments or actions anymore.

    Your article is spot on as usual because I didn’t think much of myself back then but have learned to like myself and others as time is short.

  • I ask all the time why I have ended up, at 53, creating all this negativity around me when I know better…

  • This was a great post. I could relate to all of the things on the list. One of the things that I need to stop asking myself, “Is what is the point of any of this? Of life?” It is the most self-defeating thought to have. It stops all action.

    I promise to work on stopping that thought.

  • “What is this all for?”

  • Thanks for this inspirational post. I would say I am guilty of always asking question #4. This has been keeping me from doing a lot of things I know I am good at. I am trying hard to remove this “barrier” from me, it hasn’t been easy, but I know I will surely get there.

  • Great post! I usually ask these questions, so I will try to stop asking them starting today. Thank you Marc and Angel for the inspiration.

  • Marc and Angel, every time you post a blog, it awakens those dying hopes inside me. I’m thankful to you guys, really.

  • Wonderful and perfect, as always.
    Thank you so much for sharing this. Truly inspiring!

  • 2 and 5 are my biggest setbacks, but I really relate to what Beth said about wishing others would be open and honest about their struggles, as well instead of putting on a front even when we know who they are.

  • Thank you Angel and Marc for these thought provoking words. These words are good and I shall keep to them on my mind.

  • Nice post. To sum up, when you are happy internally, you don’t worry about what’s happening around you. Build yourself up wit positive questions.

  • Nice post Marc and Angel. Thank you for another inspirational boost. May God continue to bless you .

  • Once again, thought provoking, but also what I needed this to read. Thank you :)

  • This post was meant for me this morning. I really appreciate it, thanks very much…

  • Thank you very much for sharing. Its a pleasure to read your uplifting blog. Always makes my day.

  • Thanks a lot for this blog. I really needed it right now. Sometimes I feel like the world is falling down on me because I’m always feeling depressed and devastated. Please Marc, I really need to talk to you guys in private. How can reach reach you?

  • A very great post hey. It’s more like people asking this questions are condemning themselves. They fail to realize the potential and the positive part of their being here on earth. I worked on a similar post on my blog (linked above).

  • Very well written article. Anytime I am helping someone solve a problem or achieve a goal I get them to start asking the right questions. To me the simplest way to break it down is that instead of asking ourselves why all of the time, we need to start asking why not? This article explained the dark side of the question we ask ourselves all too often, “Why?”
    Thanks for the great info!

  • Excellent post, just on time for me. Thank you!
    My kryptonite question lately is something like: “could I be right?” or “can this be really happening?” Whenever I feel inspired to take action [and risk] again I get these doubts about whether I could really accomplish something that great or am I special enough to succeed… I guess it’s a variation of question #4.

    What i realized lately is that too often these thoughts come after talking to certain people that are close to me. I work on projects and one I made two years ago backfired a little bit. Nothing awful, but it just demanded much more time and money than was planned. Now every time I share my ideas with people around me [friends and family, fortunately not my coworkers] I get this look like I’m delusional and a polite silence [its quite comical in a way].

    I’m working hard on establishing my sense of self value independently of what is considered normal or within reach by others. Any tips on how to do that?

  • Thank You. I appreciate your words and thoughts here.

  • @Inspiring Citizen Rafi: I completely agree with you. If you ask yourself, “How can I move on?” with the goal of finding a positive solution, that is progress. Too many of us use the question as a crutch: “How can I possibly move on?” with no intentions of finding an answer. That slight twist of removing “possible” brings a positive light to the question.

    @Cornelius: Reminds me of this quote by Brain Tracy: “Failure is a prerequisite for great success. If you want to succeed faster, double your rate of failure.”

    @Vivo: So flip the questions around and start asking yourself: “What do I have now that I will miss when it’s gone?” “Why not me?” – and then go for it! =)

    @Renee: Great input, thank you!

    @Debbie: You are absolutely right, “What if….?” can play havoc on your mind. Change the question to one with a positive outlook. Instead of saying “if” say “when.” “When I get that promotion…”

    @Catherine: Thank you for allowing us to play a part. =) Congratulations!

    @Amandah: Yes! Week after week, I am simply blown away by your insight. Great input!

    @Sheila: I like your style. There’s always a way to put a positive twist on the questions we ask ourselves.

    @Rowan: Good ole hindsight. =)

    @DW: Life is too short to punish yourself. Accept that mistakes will happen. You are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your tomorrow. No matter how chaotic the past has been, the future is a clean, fresh, wide open space. What you do with it is up to you.

    @Threeinone: I tried emailing you earlier today, but I received a bounce-back from your email address. Not sure if you entered the wrong one. Honestly though, if depression is something you are aware you are dealing with, seeking our a professional who can help you sort through some of these issues is something I highly recommend. My heart goes out to you. Take it slow, and please stay strong.

    @maga: The Self-Love and Happiness chapters of our book cover this. Also check out: 14 Rules for Being YOU

    @All: I’ll leave you with this tip to consider:

    Be aware of your mental self-talk. We all talk silently to ourselves in our heads, but we aren’t always conscious of what we’re saying or how it’s affecting us. Start listening to your thoughts. If you hear negative questions, stop and replace them with positive, thought provoking, productive ones.

    And as always, thank you for your continuous support and inspiration.

  • That’s great! Inspiring! I feel like you are talking directly to me with this post.
    Thanks and I wish all the best for you two.
    Best regards.

  • @Marc: Thank you!

  • Thank you Marc and Angel. I struggle with this one a lot, but after reading this I feel more optimistic. Keep up your wonderful advice, it really helps :)

  • Another great post! Keep them coming.

    I relate to #2. For so long I sought people’s approval of what I did. Until not too long ago, when I decided to do thing just because I want to without focusing so much on what people think.

    I think #3 could be either good or bad, depending on why the question is being asked. I think its a good question when the motive is to improve on an already established process.

    Thanks for providing a platform where folks can learn a few things to improve quality of life make it worth living.

  • “Not having tried at all is as bad as it gets.” This is SO true! There are so many people out there (myself included) who have a mindset that they simply cannot do something before they ever even tried it! If you don’t try, how do you know you will not succeed?

  • This is me with a capital M. I worry constantly about what others think and why people “dump me” as friends or lash out and get abusive when we used to be so close. I was just telling hubby tonight that I am best at failing, since I feel like that’s all I do. This post is a good one and it’s one I definitely needed to read.. and one that I will bookmark for repeated reading.

  • Becoming your own best friend and loving yourself is one of the most powerful things you can do. Each morning and evening for a period of time I stood in front of the mirror and said “I love Myself” 20 times. Doing that small thing made a huge difference to my life. If you try it and it feels awkward to begin with you most probably have an underlying belief that you do not love yourself otherwise it wouldn’t feel awkward. Try doing this for 30 days and over time it becomes the new belief you hold, it will allow you to move through life backing yourself instead of always putting yourself down and being hesitant. Much love, Aaron

  • 4. “If you never pick up that keyboard, or pencil, or paintbrush, or whatever instrument you use to craft your work, because you’re afraid that someone else might do it better than you, your prediction will automatically come true.”

    What to do if that prediction has already come true? But you no longer have time to learn/start from scratch because you’re bogged down by other things which take up a majority of your time…

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