Is life really supposed to be fair? Why do we have that expectation? Somewhere along the way I’m afraid that we get stuck in that childhood thought — “life is supposed to be fair” and it’s so disappointing to find out that what may be our rule, is not actually life’s rule.
If we accept that we are individuals, each on an individual journey, much of which we don’t even understand, the rules of fairness are just plainly not applicable. You and I are not the same. We do not need to learn the same lessons in life. So what might be a more difficult lesson for you, might be an easier lesson for me. On its surface, prima facie, we don’t even really know what fairness is. Are we expecting that life will give us an equal amount of trouble and joy? Equal amounts to the others we know?
This struggle we put ourselves through to maintain an idealized version of fairness is not really even worth the effort or the thought or the energy. Life being fair is wasted grief. It’s living comparatively — my life is only more fair or less fair compared to someone else’s life. And really, I just get to live my own life, even if someone’s does look better.
When I’m struggling with a problem, an emotional nadir, and I’m bogged down with how unfair it all is I’m really just diverting the power of my energy of acceptance. By being a victim of the Life-is-Just-Not-Fair -To-Me-Fan club, I give up some of the power I do have to take up the charge of my own life. I can certainly choose to ride that wave into the sandy beaches of despair, but quite honestly, it seems pointless.
I have changed my expectations. I don’t even worry about whether it’s fair. I repeat the mantra “We get to accept life on life’s terms.” And that’s it. That’s my starting point. I don’t even think about turning lemons into lemonade. I’m looking squarely at what I’m seeing and looking for the light, looking for the lessons, making meaning out of the place I find myself in my journey and moving forward. And thankfully, it is working. I feel light, energized and willing to do the most with what I’ve been given. This has been a big lesson for me. And the best part of it, the easiest part of it, was making the switch. All I had to do was give up that expectation. Life isn’t fair. Try it on.