This is a difficult reality for us all to accept. We’ve been taught that if you only work hard and long enough, you’ll get where you want to be and it’ll all work out in the end. We tend to think this is how the world should work, especially if we’ve been raised in the United States, where equality and fairness is constantly shaping discourse. We want the world to be fair. We want to sleep soundly at night. We want our safety, security, and well-being guaranteed.
The concept of fairness is also generally subjective. It changes according to who you ask and what they’re addressing. What is fair for one is not fair for all. But this doesn’t mean there are no right answers.
The takeaway here is that accepting that life is not fair is the key. Asking “why not” invites an infinite regress and will drive you crazy. We all have our reasons why things should be fair or why they’re not fair, but the big questions of unfairness, like life and death, may never be explained in a way that is satisfying. There is no satisfying answer as to why someone’s child was taken from them, or why if we live long enough, we’ll watch everyone we know die someday. Sure we know how; we can turn to medicine for an explanation. But in the end we’re still left grieving and wondering why.
Wondering why may lead to dysfunction, but accepting and grieving is a natural process. Grief eventually ends, but wondering why may not. At some point we must accept reality and go on with our lives.
Attempting to make the world fair is both self-defeating and destructive. We all know someone that tries to make everything fair. We may even think of them as codependents. Refusing to accept that life is not fair usually leads to bitterness, unhappiness, and anger which prevents personal growth. But accepting that life is unfair usually makes us act for the greater good. We’re usually more loving and caring and have a more realistic outlook. Usually those that accept this are seen as far more far than those trying to force the world to behave how they’d like it.
Photo by Juan Pablo Arenas from Pexels