Psychology, Life and Mind: Life is not FAIR! Or IS it…?

Over the years, I have come to accept and embrace that I simply have too many things going on in my life. Or maybe I have too many interests.

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Conventional psychology would probably like to go down the ”ADHD Road,” but I pretty much reject that characterization. Unless your ”scatteredness” substantially interferes with your ability to function as a human being in this world, I’m not willing to even look at that train. I’ve actually made a number of medical and mental health professionals very unhappy because of my insistence on doing things my own way… rather than the ”Generally Accepted Way.”

But I digress.

As part of my ”having too many things” going on in my life, I still belong to a fair number of psychology and mental health groups and forums, mostly on Facebook.

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In one of them, we have recently been having a bit of a discussion about life ”not being fair.” This particular group is a little bit on the ”woo-woo” side, so sometimes it’s described as ”The Universe” not being fair.

Regardless…

I just haven’t been able to shake this vague sense that ”unfairness” somehow walks hand-in-hand with ”entitlement.”

In other words, the issue here isn’t whether or not life actually IS fair, but who told you and made you believe that life is fair?

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The thing about Life/The Universe — at least as I have experienced it — is that it gives you pretty much exactly what you ”ask” for, within the parameters of some random variability.

Our modern times seem to have hijacked and complexified principles that are actually very simple, and turned them into some kind of mystery. People put fancy names on these basic principles and sell $499 workshops just so people can be ”taught” something as basic as ”You reap what you sow,” a truism I believe has been around since early biblical times.

Perhaps we all wrestle with "unfairness," now and then. There was a time in my life when I felt that ”The Universe was out to get me” because I lived through what could easily be characterized as a long string of really bad luck. And that sure felt ”unfair” because most other people doing the exact same thing experienced much better outcomes.

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That’s why I added the caveat ”random variability.”

The more times you flip a coin, the closer you will get to 50% heads and 50% tails. However, it is possible to toss 12 heads (or more) in a row. And if you were betting on tails, that would seem ridiculously ”unfair.”

(And yes, I looked at some very scholarly mathematical White Papers, and if you flip a coin 200 times, there’s a 0.00012% chance that you’ll end up with a sequence of 12 heads OR tails)

Somebody will end up being on the ”receiving end” of statistical outliers; I experienced it for some years in my 30’s, some professional gamblers have crashed and burned on it… but such things still do not make life ”unfair.”

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Anyway, getting back to the group discussion about ”fairness,” most often the truth is that we are getting precisely what we are asking for… and there is always a kind of reciprocity involved: “You reap what you sow.”

So where’s the problem? Most people don’t really know themselves, and that gives rise to the feelings of ”unfairness.”

Let’s use a simple metaphor: If you toss a bunch of wildflower seeds on the ground and then declare that it’s ”unfair” that no rose bushes grew — because you love roses and really wanted rose bushes — that problem is not life’s, or the Universe’s.

You might be thinking ”But who DOES that???”

Actually, surprisingly many people do. In our world, lots of people feel that they should be able to ”harvest benefits” with ”sowing” much of anything.

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Confused yet?

The whole thing is really very simple psychology: We have a better chance of getting/having what we focus our attention/efforts on. And sometimes it feels counterintuitive.

For example, there’s a huge difference between ”not depressed” and ”happy.”

If you focus on ”not being depressed” you can get exactly that in no time at all. But don’t come whining to me with ”I don’t understand! Why am I not happy?” Simple… you didn’t focus on and ask for ”happy,” you focused on ”not depressed.”

Same thing often happens in relationships. People come out of abusive relationships and can't understand why they keep attracting abusers. "I KNOW I don't want to be with someone abusive!" they'll declare. Sure... but you're still focusing on "abusive" rather than (for example) "kind."

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Confused yet?

And that tends to be the core issue that arises in these ”life is unfair” discussions as a result of which I usually recommend a mindfulness practice to those who feel their lives are unfair. There’s no magic pill and no $99 DVD learning series, the best thing you can do is learn to be fully aware of what your actual wants are, and what you are putting out into the world!

So much of the time we're on "autopilot," and the result becomes that we do the same old thing, over and over... even if we think we don't want it.

Thanks for reading, and have a great remainder of your week!

How about YOU? Do you believe life is "fair?" Have you ever been pulled into discussions over whether or not life seems fair? Do you think we tend to get what we ask for... but we aren't always aware of WHAT we are asking for? Comments, feedback and other interaction is invited and welcomed! Because — after all — SOCIAL content is about interacting, right? Leave a comment — share your experiences — be part of the conversation!

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Created at 20211015 15:28 PDT

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