Emotional Fitness

Harness the power of emotion to deepen your love with your partner, become more successful at work, and more

Life Isn't Fair - And That's The Truth

Fairness is not necessarily part of the bargain.

Life is not fair. Since I was nine, my baby sister was taller than me. I wanted to be a rock star, but started going bald at twenty-two. My media career has stalled more times than Snoopy's Sopwith Camel. And many years ago, way before her time, the woman I loved died in my arms.

People I work with have lost money, relationships, their homes, and even their sense of well-being. It seems that the pressure of the real world, which many of us didn't see until this recession, takes its toll on all of us, no matter what our station in life.

Sometimes, when you are doing everything you can to make things go your way, something totally out of your control will punch you in the stomach. And it just doesn't seem fair. Guess what-sometimes it isn't fair, and that's the very painful truth about our lives. Fairness is not necessarily part of the bargain.

No matter who you are, there will be times when someone does something so unjust that your head spins for days, weeks, or even longer. You live with these little thoughts of disbelief that these people, who you trusted with every fiber of your being, turned on you. And their reasoning was spurious at best.

If you are one of the lucky few, such a setback can inspire you to really kick yourself into high gear. If not so lucky, you may lose control of your emotions and fly into a rage or cry like a baby. I hate it when that happens.

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You may fantasize about getting even or causing the offending party some kind of pain. When your balance is momentarily kicked sideways, it can be difficult to get a good sense of direction. But just for the record, revenge seldom makes it all better. Your best bet is always to focus on your next step.

After you've gone through this a few dozen times, you may want to give up. Don't. I know too many people who got passed over for a promotion, lost the love of their lives, or had to change their lifestyles drastically and found a way to reinvent themselves, move forward, and turn things around.

You also have to consider your own sense of fairness. It's not necessarily unfair if someone else got something you wanted even if you felt you had earned it. More likely, the other person was chosen for reasons that were different from what you would have considered. It's not wrong; it's simply a choice that you had no say in. The feelings that go with it aren't nice, but it isn't a total castigation of your ability or value as a person.

When fairness seems to fly out the window, don't let your inspiration go with it. There is always a new path you can take, and oftentimes it proves to be better than the one you were on. It keeps happening to me, although I am still five-foot-six.

 

 

Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist, columnist, and radio host. His latest book is The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.

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