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Thursday, March 4, 2021

What to Do When Life is Unfair

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It’s unfair and there’s nothing you can do about it. That’s what happens when power is abused and you’re on the losing end. When the saying, ‘Well, life’s not fair’ won’t cut it, what are you to do?

First of all, stop saying ‘Life’s not fair.’ If you say that to a hurting colleague, either you’re part of the cheating class and don’t want people to retaliate or you’re sending out a strong message that you don’t empathize or care about the person in front of you.

Most likely when you feel wronged, you’ve lost something. It could be immediate like money, a promotion or your turn in line. Or it could have been building up like losing a lover or your status. All of these could disappear from your life under ‘normal’ conditions. But when they’re snatched from you by someone who’s untouchable with power, it feels different.

Your hands are tied and other people would rather you get ‘over it’ quickly. But if action was meant to be, nothing will eliminate it from your system. Only action like a spiritual bowel movement can heal you at this point.

1. Don’t Take Revenge

If you were hurt because of a power imbalance, then odds are the cards are stacked against you. The perpetrator makes sure that he wins unfairly at all costs. But don’t be so quick to forgive and forget. Focus on making a commitment that you will go through the process of forgiveness. Confucius said, “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” If you focus on revenge, you will kill yourself in the process and not allow the beautiful forces of karma, God and the universe to flow.

In particular, it may set you off on the wrong path even though you think it’s right. Let’s say you got fired from a job and are determined to beat your former company in the marketplace. You may not realize your ambition is actually anger masquerading as work ethic. Perhaps the better path for you was to fly away to a new industry after being sacked. Instead, you’ll spend too much time on a useless endeavor.

“Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”

Confucius

The smarter use of time and energy will go into your new journey where you end up farther ahead because of this pain. Acknowledge that you’re hurting and don’t let anyone force you to pretend you’re not in pain. It will only delay your recovery. Make a commitment to yourself that you will tie your hands behind your back and not scheme a plan to ‘make them pay’. Then release your hands and clasp them in front of you and ask the higher power for the strength you will need.

2. Talk It Out for Real

Sadly, there may be fewer people than you expect who will sympathize with you or truly know what to do. You may feel shocked when your normal support network gives you platitudes of ‘It will get better soon’ or ‘Keep on moving forward’ or ‘Let go and forget about it quickly’. More often, these statements reflect their impatience to see you get back to normal so that they can feel comfortable in your company again. And ironically, even though these sayings emphasize speed, they actually slow the process down. It’s like telling someone to stick a band-aid over a bullet still lodged in your body and ‘get over it soon’.

In order to dig the foreign object out, you need to talk it out for real. By real, I mean you have to find someone who either went through what you did, went through something similar at the same magnitude, or a good therapist. Even with good friends, they can only give you snippets of healing. You need to do this talk for real. Just talking it out loud will unload half of the battle. And sometimes it only takes two or three sentences of understanding to release the resentment you feel. But they have to be the right two or three sentences that really hit your pain. That can only come from people who can hear you out for real.

3. Get a New Goal

Focus on setting your sights on a new place to go in life. Your head will be spinning, your thoughts will be cloudy and every now and then anger will boil out of nowhere. This is why step 2 is so important. By talking it out, you can breathe a bit to do the important mental work of getting a new plan in place. Your life has been disrupted by this injustice. It’s knocked off balance and where you thought you would be is not where you are or where you are headed. The faster you get a new plan in place, the more quickly you can get to forgiveness.

4. Live Better

You’re going to think repeatedly that ‘they owe you’. They do. But payment will come in a different way. If you have made it this far, then you will start seeing doors open or bits of lucky streaks. Even if you’re hitting a wall and don’t know where to go, stop to think if you’re actually better off. Are you happier now that you’re out of that madhouse and away from toxic people? Do you have more time, more space or more inspiration? Find ways to live better even if you don’t have a lot of money for new experiences. Focus on being creative to improve your food, leisure and attainment of knowledge. You will change your energy from downcast resentment to active hope.

5. Talk it Out for Real AGAIN

Your desire to settle the score doesn’t go away immediately. Admit that to yourself. It doesn’t mean you’re taking revenge if you have anger flare-ups because of a memory. It’s another reminder of how much effort you’ve successfully made to take the high road. But because of these passions, keep reaching out to your therapist or ‘talking it out for real’ buddy. Say the hurt and repeat the hurt until you get bored of it and it has no more meaning to you. And repeat steps 1-2-3-4.

Final Thoughts

Don’t misunderstand these steps to mean you roll over and become passive. If your new goal is to organize a protest, initiate a lawsuit or take concrete action to change the system in which the power abuser thrives, then that is your calling. But make sure you’re doing it for a higher cause and not just to seek vengeance. Soon you will be on your way to a brighter future.

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