We have no right to ask, when sorrow comes, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ unless we ask the same question for every joy that comes our way. ~ Philip S. Bernstein
Many of us live with the idea that life needs to be fair. When something isn’t fair, we experience numerous, negative reactions including petulance, outrage, hurt, despair, anxiety, and fear.
When our sense of fairness isn’t met, we often lash out at others or at ourselves. But where does this sense of entitlement come from, the idea that we must always be treated fairly?
There are many things in life, the world and history that aren’t fair. Terrible things happen to good and innocent people and good things happen to misguided and cruel people.
It isn’t wrong to think things like “why me?” or “it just isn’t fair.” Yet those thoughts need to be the beginning of a journey toward a broader and more enlightened understanding of the situation. It is our choice to stop feeling put upon when unfair situations present themselves and instead react with maturity, grace, and acceptance.
Its possible that overcoming the concept of unfairness is a lifelong battle and we all have our own individual triggers that we must work through.
Through awareness and practice, we can each reach a place where fair and unfair take on different and more perspective definitions. Fairness is a far bigger picture than what we as individuals can see and comprehend.
Letting go of our sense of what is fair helps us to think outside of ourselves, to open our hearts in compassion to others and eventually, to work through our personal grief as we understand that life is both fair and unfair and we will certainly have our share of both. We may deserve one thing but get another. We will watch those we love struggle and suffer and it will seem unbearably unfair.
As always, being grateful for what we do have rather than dwelling on what is missing can help us accept and move through this sense of unfairness. Despite all the disparity and unfairness that may surround us, there is always something to be grateful for.
Fair and unfair are not illusions. They are subjective but real concepts. However, we can’t allow ourselves to be trapped by these ideas. We need to try to move forward, even in the face of great and grave unfairness, to a place of imperfect understanding and acceptance and ultimately, healing.
May your days be filled with gratitude and good things.