“It’s just not fair!”
The “F” word—fair. Some days you have it so bad and there’s nobody else in the entire world that knows how horrible it is to be you! And no matter how hard you try, you keep hitting these road blocks and it feels like everything is working against you. It just isn’t fair.
All of us have dreamt of how our lives COULD BE perfect. We say things like, “if only I would have done X when I was younger” and “maybe if I hadn’t done THIS, things would be different.” The mode of perfection that create in our minds and often fantasize about usually has traits from the lives of other who we perceive or assume are living that perfect, seemingly unattainable existence that we so dearly thirst for.
The problem isn’t that your life is really all that bad. The problem is that your perceptions that enable you to hold yourself in contempt and in constant state of judgement is a direct result of your inability to deal with reality.
Look: life isn’t fair. At least in the sense of what you believe “fair” is. For example, maybe you are driving what you perceive to be the lousiest car on the block. As a result, you hold yourself in contempt. You think that if only you had a better job, you could then afford to have a better car. You can’t get a better job, because you lack certain skills or a base education to get that better job. You are playing connect the dots with specious reasoning to form connections that aren’t even there! Every negative thought that you form links to another negative thought in your brain. Before long, you are singling out every single fault and problem that you have. Instead of seeing a positive, you’re blinded by all of your shortcomings and that makes it even easier to discover new things that are wrong. You start to measure yourself, your success, your life and everything against everyone else around you or that you see on television and everywhere you look, it seems like everyone is doing so well—except you.
What IS fair?
Is fairness a doctrine based upon entitlement?
You know—because you have it worse off than the next person, you deserve something from someone to make up for it, right?
Yes, that sounds crazy! Because it is crazy. By thinking about how unfair the universe is towards you, you allow negative thoughts to constantly consume you. Negativity becomes the only thing you know. It serves as the central point of all comparisons you make when contrasting yourself to everything and everyone else. You begin to believe that you will never be good enough, smart enough, rich enough, or happy enough. Misery becomes the defining characteristic that you use to define YOU.
Bad things happen, period. You can be as proactive as possible to try and stack odds in your favor of avoiding the bad, but you can’t escape it. Some of us are better at dealing with bad things than others. The fundamental element at play, when dealing with bad stuff, is control. When bad stuff happens, you feel as though you have no control over it. You feel as though all you can do is sit back and watch the horror unfold right before your eyes. That inability to react positively when facing negativity is perceived as existential forces being unfair to you and all you know is that, you’ve got the worst luck and that life is so unfair.
So how do you shake that feeling of life is so unfair?
Do you think that I have a super-secret solution for this? Maybe I do. Maybe I’ve been THAT GUY who has been down on his luck and feeling like the entire world is plotting against him. Maybe I’ve been that guy that runs into problems around every turn he takes. Maybe I’ve felt like my existence is unfair with comparison to everyone else who glides through stress free.
And no matter how many lows I’ve hit, I’ve also encountered a huge number of highs. I’ve suffered through the darkest days and crawled through haze of negativity while grasping for some sense of hope that what I’m doing will pay off some day. Sometimes I’ve fell backwards and started drowning in my own sense of sorrow and inability to deal with reality. Sometimes I get so caught up in the chaos of “what if” and spend all of my time worrying about what tomorrow will bring instead of living in the magic of right now.
Let’s try to develop a new way of thinking. First of all, you don’t feel bad about a situation because of the situation itself, but rather because of your beliefs. If you’re upset about something, you make it worse by allowing irrational “shoulds” and “woulds” and other demands and commands to unconsciously slip into your thinking which only acts to further disturb you.
Let’s say you’re driving home and happen to be stuck behind some blue-haired driver who can’t even get their speed to the posted limit. You forget the simple fact that bad drivers exist everywhere, not just in front of you and you think that this shouldn’t be happening to YOU. The key that makes it so unbearably miserable is the “should.”
Maybe you’re putting together new piece of furniture and you know how it SHOULD work, but it fails. You become frustrated. You get annoyed. What actually changed?
That belief of SHOULD and WOULD is dangerous and if I “would have” done this or I “should have” done that is always at the front of your operations, you need to break that line of thinking, quickly. But how can it be done?
We KNOW that traffic is awful—this is our adversity. We like to BELIEVE that, “this shouldn’t happen to me.” Well guess what—it’s happening. And what about the CONSEQUENCES? You get angry, frustrated or depressed. Often, we cannot change the adversity that we are dealing with. However, we CAN change our beliefs which then impact the consequences. So we then must DISPUTE those irrational beliefs that we hold.
Think about it like this: when did you ever receive a guarantee or promise from the universe that you will have a trouble-free existence? Never. In the case of the blue-haired slow driver, it’s happened before and it will happen again. You’ll probably survive, right? It’s not that your life is so unfair—this stuff just happens.
Beliefs are rooted in words like “should” or “must” or “ought.” That’s where the problem is. Sure, you’re allowed to wish, want and desire—that’s natural. There’s things that you would love to have or hold, but you’re not going to DIE without them! You can always be just as happy without them.
You cannot simply command the universe the bend to your will! That’s where frustration, anger and depression sneak it—because that godlike insistence isn’t rational.
When you insist that you always MUST have or DO something, you probably think of it like this: “Because I would very much like or prefer to have success, approval, or pleasure, I absolutely, under practically all conditions, must have it. And if I don’t get it, as I completely MUST, it’s awful and I can’t stand it! I must be an inferior person for not being able to get it and the world is a HORRIBLE place for not giving me what I must have! I’m sure I’ll never get it, and therefore, I cannot be happy at all.”
“People should treat me kindly and fairly all the time.” Does that sound rational? Don’t think so!
“I should succeed at this. If I don’t, then I’m a complete failure and a loser.” Really?
“This person must love me back or I’ll die!” Nope—sure won’t.
In order to free yourself from a sense of unfairness in life, you first need to stop and interdict when you your mind is flooded with irrational beliefs. Change your mindset. Things really are not quite as bad as they seem. Sure, there are some extreme exceptions, but don’t dwell on that. Keep focused in the moment. THIS very moment is what matters. Yesterday is done and gone. Tomorrow—well, we’ll deal with tomorrow when tomorrow becomes the now.
You are not the thoughts in your head. You are YOU and no matter how hard you try to fantasize or change things in your mind, you cannot change that fundamental fact.
You are not your expectations and your expectations are not always found in those around you. In fact, sometimes your own shortcomings develop an existential projection and you hold others in contempt for the very things that YOU fail on yourself. It’s not because you are inherently mean or trying to be rude, you just don’t want to see that part of you being reflected back—hence, opposites attract.
Look, life isn’t measured in fragments of fairness or doctrines of equality. You create your own destiny. Don’t sit back and wait for a string of good luck to find you. Sometimes you have to go out and find it. It’s not about what it SHOULD be or COULD be—it’s about what it actually IS.