Thursday, September 8, 2011

Life Lesson: Life Isn't Fair ... But That's Okay

September is a reflective time for me. As I turn 43 this month, I started thinking about some Life Lessons I’ve learned over the years and thought I’d share them.

Like every other child, whenever I felt like I’d been wronged or slighted, I’d cry “That’s not fair!” Many of us continue to do this well into adulthood. “It’s not fair. I should have got the promotion!” “It’s not fair. I work hard, I should have more!” “It’s not fair fill-in-the-blank.” Well the cold, hard truth is that life isn’t fair.

We don’t always get what we deserve. Often times, we don’t get what we want. Sometimes we don’t even get what we need. Bad things happen to good people and bad people have good things happen to them.

I used to wonder why. I tried to figure out for myself why things unfolded the way they did. Maybe it’s God teaching a lesson. Maybe it’s a divine punishment. It could be that the person just makes bad decisions. Maybe they just have bad luck. It was an exercise in futility. The truth of the matter is that I don’t know and may never know.

What I do know is this. Because I can’t determine why bad things happen to good people, I can’t go around pointing the finger of blame. When a bad thing happens to someone, I don’t point assume that they have done something wrong because I don’t know. Also, I don’t want people pointing that ignorant and accusatory finger at me either.

Instead of figuring out why things have happened or who to blame, I try to determine the what, the where, and the how. What do I do now? Where do I go from here? How can I change this situation?

Accepting this truth is freeing. Once you stop expecting fairness, you are able to move forward and take life as it comes: the good, the bad and the ugly. You are also able to start appreciating and accepting what you have, the things you overlooked in your search for fairness.
  • Maybe you didn’t get that promotion, but your current job gives you the time and flexibility that you would not have had with the other job.
  • Maybe you haven’t lost weight, but you have a partner that loves and appreciates you the way you are.
  • Maybe you weren’t blessed with children but you have many nieces and nephews, not to mention good friends.
  • Maybe you didn't buy the house but your rent payments are very affordable.
Just because life isn’t fair doesn’t mean we aren’t blessed and that we don’t have a lot to be grateful for.


Christy said...

Does that mean we just have to leave things as they are?

Karyn L Beach said...

No that doesn't mean that we should leave things as they are. What it means is that we should do our best to get the outcome we desire. HOWEVER, if things don't go our way, we shouldn't quit trying or sit around and whine about it.

We have to recognize that everything won't go our way and manage to keep moving forward anyway.

Txema Sanchis said...

Cristy excellent article. The problem is that many people do not distinguish when they do wrong and when they want is impossible.

Karyn L Beach said...

Txema, I think that a lot of people take the mantra to never give up very seriously and they continue to pursue when they really need to stop and question their desires, their motives and their expectations. Why do you want what you want? Are your goals realistic and achievable? Is your goal good for you and worthy of achieving? Will it harm or help those around you?

If you aren't getting what you want the way you want it, maybe it's time to ask yourself if there is another way to go about it or if you should be pursuing it in the first place.

I'll be 43 tomorrow. I've always wanted a child but having a baby isn't in my future. I could list a myriad of reasons why this is unfair. However, it is what it is. Instead, I'm not considering adoption or fostering a child. I'm also a volunteer with Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

I was upset and angry about never being a mother but when the anger subsided and I started asking the hard questions, I realized there were other ways to get to what I really wanted.