The Belief that Life is Not Fair

Updated: Mar 31

The place where you are born, your health, gender, and the things you're good at are not something you can control. You don't get to choose what cards you're dealt with in life, but you do get to control how you play them. Your life goals can fail or must be abandoned, people will die, and your actions are permanent. Life expects a lot from you, and it isn't fair, or is it?

In this article, we'll talk about our beliefs about how life is unfair, why life is unfair, and if fairness in life is a valid assumption.


Why is life unfair?

Even when you're trying to do everything right by doing good things for other people, unfortunate things can still happen to you. After being crushed by life over and over again, you might be thinking ''Why is life unfair?''. These thoughts can make you unhappy and it might make you ponder on what you did to deserve this unfair life. I think this is an attitude that many of us have, and I've certainly had that train of thought in my life.


We think about how life is unfair to us, ask a lot of whys, compare ourselves to others, and that everything in our lives should go smoothly. We have this idea that life was meant to be painless. We can either waste all of our energy and time thinking about how unfair life is, or we can accept the truth that life will not thrive without being unfair to everyone in the universe since life was never meant to be fair.


We have this idea that life is supposed to be fun, engaging, that you're entitled to, or that you shouldn't have to deal with something painful. Life is a sandbox game, it's not supposed or obligated to be anything. You can decide who you relate with, what to eat, where you live, what job you do, and how you behave. Most of us get so hung up on how we think the world should work that we can’t see how it does work. Life is what you make of it. Let go of what it's supposed to be and look at what it is.


It’s unavoidable that everyone goes through struggles. It's about making the most out of bad situations. We would never grow and learn without going through these times. We would feel stagnant and bored without challenges.


The problem isn’t that life is unfair, it’s the broken idea of fairness. Fairness is a human construct that has nothing to do with how the world works.


Is life fair or unfair?

What is this idea of fairness regarding life, where does it come from, and what does it mean? You have to begin with the assumption that life is supposed to be fair, and you have to have some idea of what fairness means regarding life. When you examine this idea, it means that life doesn't match up with our desires and expectations.


But where do we get the idea that life is supposed to match up with our desires and expectations? I know that in my own experience, as long as I held to that belief, all it did was create disappointment in my life because the belief did not match up with reality. The reality is that life is full of all kinds of difficulties and challenges. And as long as you think that life should match up with your desires, there will always be situations where you feel deeply disappointed, frustrated, irritated, and unhappy.


I'm not even saying that life is unfair, because to have that perspective you still have to believe in fairness. I'm saying get rid of the idea of fairness and unfairness altogether. Recognize that life is as it is and not interpret life in terms of fairness and unfairness. Our disappointment is rooted in the idea that there is supposed to be some sort of fairness.


Believing in a fair or unfair life is not based on any facts, which makes it wishful thinking. It's difficult for a lot of people to let go of that belief and to accept the reality that life doesn't work that way.


Can we accept that life doesn't always match up with our desires and expectations, and can we accept that life is full of difficulties and challenges? When we learn to accept that the challenges are there, then we're not generating all of this mental resistance which only makes it more unbearable.


Shift your perspective to the understanding that no situation is perfect. In every positive encounter, there is something negative, and in every negative, there is something positive. The problem for most of us is that we're very skilled at recognizing the negative aspects of a situation and often overlooking the positive aspects.


When you lose something that you're very attached to, it's an opportunity to work on being detached or to let go. If you can shift your mindset in this way, then challenges don't necessarily have to be seen as problems because they're just challenges. Are you willing to accept that challenge? Since it's only a problem if you're unwilling to accept it.