Who said that life is fair? Fairness is a human-created concept and life does not play by our rules. Life is not and never will be fair. Expecting anything but this absolute truth is naive.
Likewise, there is no stability, certainty, control or security in life. These are human-created concepts that do not exist in nature. It is vital to let go of these ideas to find freedom. In essence, stop asking answerless Why questions. Replace them with queries like, What can I do to make things better?
When working with clients, we always come around to the idea that life is not fair. They will tell me, It is not fair. I am sick. I am in pain.
I completely understand these thoughts, since I live the same reality of chronic pain, but I challenge them with the question, Can you show me the signed contract that promises you a fair life? Did you sign it at birth? Is it notarized? Who are you going to complain to for breach of contract?
This usually elicits a chuckle from even the most serious of clients. However, all humor aside, the comments are really not meant to be funny, as much as they are intended to provoke thought. So, I ask them again, Why does life have to be fair? Who says?
Nature does its own thing. We can not impose our concepts on it and expect it to play by the rules, ethics and standards that we arbitrarily accept and embrace.
We have little to no power to impart fairness to the world in most things that we, as a species, actually do control, such as society, human rights, finance and personal freedom, try as we may. We certainly have absolutely no ability to enforce fairness in matters much larger than us, such as those governed by natural law and random selection.
We get sick. We have pain. We suffer. We die.
Suffering is inherent to the human condition, but it is only a small part of our journey here. Suffering should not take center-stage, nor should it ever define who we are. However, trying to avoid suffering will only beget more suffering. This is universal truth of classic philosophy which has proven itself throughout the ages.
I love to dialogue with my clients about fairness. I find that it is a great topic to open their eyes to many important truths of life:
First, they can see that suffering is all around and that each of us faces unique struggles and turmoils in life. They are certainly not alone. Suffering is a thread that sews each of us together; a shared burden, if you will.
Next, the subject of fairness gives rise to the idea that each person’s sufferings might be different, but none are inherently worse than others. We all have pain, in our own way. Unless you can live inside a person’s mind and body, you will never know the extent that they have been negatively impacted by life and its unfair circumstances.
Finally, embracing the idea that the expectation of fairness is baseless and ridiculous takes away so many of the unproductive thought patterns and unanswerable questions. Why? becomes Why not? There no longer has to be internal dialogs that circle endlessly upon each other, leading to the client being forever stuck in their suffering. Instead, the client can begin to see the larger picture of life and finally progress to positive mindsets they would not have thought possible before.
So, in summation, I leave all of you with a question to consider:
If life is not fair, then what exactly is it?
The answer I choose to provide is the following:
“Life is opportunity. It is the chance to do the best and live the best that we can. It is a challenge and it is not meant to be easy. This is the whole point of the journey. We must meet the obstacles head-on and do all we can to impart fairness into the world, despite the world not meeting us at least halfway in return.”