Why Life Is Not Fair

Christine from Houston asks: Brooks, Why is Life So Unfair?
My dad divorced my mom when I was 5, and I grew up in single-parent poverty.
The colleges I tried to get into never accepted me
My boss at work always seems to disagree with me, and I never get promoted.
It seems like life hates me and wants to see me fail. Is it like this with everyone?


Life is not fair. Here are 3 reasons why with advice on how to deal with it.

Three Reasons Life Is Not Fair

#1: Life is outside of your control

When you were born, you had no say in the matter. It wasn’t your choice; it was someone else's choice made for you. You also didn’t choose who your parents were. What country they lived in. How healthy their genetic makeup was. Or how much money they would be able to acquire. You had no control over your natural talents, good looks, or intellectual capacity. You could say that you were created against your will, and without your permission.

Not only that, but as you get older you soon realize that there are many other things you can’t control: things like the weather, the economy, global pandemics, or anything else bigger than you. You have profound limitations. If you don’t want to believe that, just consider that the very earth that you live on is suspended in space within a galaxy suspended among a billion other galaxies. So, if you ever think that you are in control of your life, you are self-deceived. That can feel unfair.

#2: Life rewards performance, not desire.

No matter how much you want something, you won’t get it unless you can... actually get it. For example: If you want to be a famous actor someday, very few people care. But if you are able to land a role in the next Star Wars movie, millions of people will care and BOOM, life just rewarded your ability to get what you want!

But sometimes you won’t know how to get what you desire? You won’t know who to contact, or where to look for the very thing, you want. And worse yet, Let’s say you do end up being able to do what you want. You may not be any good at it, and life won’t reward you with the success you wanted. Life is brutal like that. So just because you want something, doesn’t mean you can get it. And Life only rewards your ability to perform. That can feel terribly unfair.

#3: Life allows multiple points of view.

You are the only person who can see from your exact point of view. Everyone else around you has a completely different point of view. Therefore, people just might disagree with you because your view of reality may be different than theirs. If they disagree with you, they will work against you. If they work against you, they might keep you from succeeding. If you fail to succeed, you just might feel devastated, and they won’t feel bad for you one bit… because they believe you are wrong, and they are right. That can feel unfair.

Knowing this, how do we deal with the fact that life is unfair?

Accept it and expect it.

When you accept the fact that you are not able to control the outcome of anything in life, you start to look at life as an adventure with endless possibilities. You learn to go with the flow and do your best with whatever opportunities you do have.

When you expect life to be unpredictable, you give up your demands that life must turn out exactly how you planned it, and you are not surprised one bit when life throws you a curveball and all of a sudden, your reality looks totally different. When you actually expect life to be unpredictable, you are not nearly as disappointed when it is.

No matter how many social justice warriors cry out for equality, equity, or total fairness…

The reality is that life is unfair. It always has been and always will be.
Life is outside of your control - so embrace whatever life throws your way.
Life rewards performance, not desire - so do your best with what you have and let the results fall as they may,
Remember that life allows for multiple points of view - so don’t be surprised when other people don’t see eye-to-eye.
Accept it. Expect it. And you will learn to love this adventure we call LIFE!

For TheHopeLine, I’m Brooks Gibbs.

Do you feel like you're stumbling through life without purpose? Watch these videos for direction. 

TheHopeLine Team
For over 30 years, TheHopeLine has been helping students and young adults in crisis. Our team is made up of writers and mental health professionals who care deeply about helping others.
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