02nd February, 2023
A friend of mine, in response to a conversation we were having about the injustices of life, asked me the question, “Who said life was going to
be fair, or that it was even meant to be fair?” Her question was a good one. It reminded me of something I was taught as a youngster: Life isn’t fair. It’s a bummer, but it’s absolutely true.
Work hard, you should get a promotion. Treat others with kindness, you should get the same in return.These expectations aren’t necessarily unreasonable—but they often go unmet. Sometimes, You work hard…and the promotion goes to someone else. You’re kind to others…and you still have to put up with the jerk down the hall.
When there’s a gap between what is and what we believe should be, we tend to get angry: “I don’t deserve this!” But dwelling on unfairness doesn’t actually make life more fair—it does, however, make it difficult to think rationally and keeps us focused on problems instead of solutions. We don’t always get to choose what happens to us, but we do get to choose how we react.
One of the mistakes many of us make is that we feel sorry for ourselves, or for others, thinking that life, should be fair, or that someday it will be. It’s not and it won’t. When we make this mistake we tend to spend a lot of time wallowing and/or complaining about what’s wrong with life. We commiserate with others, discussing the injustices of life.
“It’s not fair,” we complain, not realizing that, perhaps, it was never intended to be.
One of the nice things about surrendering to the fact that life isn’t fair is that it keeps us from feeling sorry for ourselves by encouraging us to do the very best we can with what we have. We know it’s not “life’s job” to make everything perfect, it’s our own challenge.
Ironically, recognizing this sobering fact can be a very liberating insight. Surrendering to this fact also keeps us from feeling sorry for others because we are reminded that everyone is dealt a different hand, and everyone has unique strengths & challenges.
This insight has helped me to deal with the difficult decisions I’ve had to make about who to help and who I can’t help, as well as with my own personal struggles during those times that I have felt victimized or unfairly treated. It almost always wakes me up to reality and puts me back on track.
The fact that life isn’t fair doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do everything in our power to improve our own lives or the world as a whole. To the contrary, it suggests that we should.
The next time you find yourself thinking about the injustices of the world, try reminding yourself of this very basic fact.
You may be surprised that it can nudge you out of self-pity and into helpful action.
Take life as it comes & stay blessed forever.