Life Isn’t Fair (so you need to be fair to you)

When I opened “The Road Less Travelled” by M. Scott Peck back in 88 or so the first words are “Life is difficult.” and I flung it across the room and yelled, “No KIDDING!” That was NOT what I wanted to hear and thought that any book that started like that was just going to be a downer.

As any reader here knows, this book wound up becoming one of the ones that introduced me to sanity. Love is an action became my mantra, my philosophy and my campaign. Love is what you DO, bananaheads, it is NOT what you say. If you say you love me and then act in an unloving manner, there is the door–right THERE — please help yourself out. Buh bye.

But M. Scott Peck was correct in that life is, indeed, difficult and, I have to add, unfair a lot of the time. When Michael got sick, almost everyone in my life said it was unfair. And to this day (over 3 years since he was first diagnosed) people still tell me it was unfair.

Sometimes I think it is but I try to stay away from those thoughts. I stopped expecting fairness a long time ago. John James says that we grow up with a Christmas mentality: be good and you’ll get gifts. And when we’re good and horrible things happen, we feel cheated and pained and can’t deal with loss or grief. Our first instinct is to yell: I DON’T DESERVE THIS!!!!! And we probably don’t.

The best we can do is bring as many great things into our own life while not settling for less than we deserve. We can accept that life is unfair and bad things happen to good people. The best we can do is surround ourselves with people who know that love is an action while doing our own work so that we are not crushed when unfair things happen. In other words ACCEPT THE THINGS WE CANNOT CHANGE (life is unfair, bad things happen) and CHANGE THE THINGS WE CAN (demand the very best in any situation, control who we allow in our lives and refuse to deal with those who don’t deserve us).

Michael’s sense of unfairness came from going to radiation and chemotherapy and meeting kids there. He always said, “I’m 57 years old. I’ve lived a good life. These kids should be out playing.” He never once felt sorry for himself. It was about these kids, that young mother, that man. He hated cancer treatment all on their behalf. When he was sick the treatments made him bored and restless. He could not imagine being a young kid and having to be so confined. For him unfairness was on a scale. To me it was unfair that such a wonderful man, an honorable man, a beautiful person, was taken from the world. It was unfair that I waited so long to find someone who cared for me deeply and completely and I was losing him. I’m sure that Michael felt it was unfair to me and I know he was grateful for my love and my care of him, but the bottom line for him was that the unfairness was about the young children and and the young parents.

While everyone feels their pain at 100 percent and there is no sense in comparing this loss to that loss, there are definitely degrees of unfairness. There are losses and deaths that make no sense at all. Drunk drivers take out innocent victims every single day. People are given terminal diagnoses every single day. Horrible and terrible accidents occur that no one can predict. Children die and parents with young children die. It’s all unfair.

Many unfair things have happened to me and the wail “But I’ve been so gooooooooooooood.” has only made it worse. It’s an expectation I no longer have. And that makes it easier. If you’re wailing that life is not fair, you might want to think about giving that up. There are so many people in this world who have horrific things happen. Saying it’s unfair isn’t helping anyone. Unfair on what measurement? Unfair compared to what? To your neighbor who lives across the street and just got a new car or to the mother in a third world country watching her child die of starvation?

Secondly, fairness is in the eyes of the beholder. Even if I think that my life has been harder and more unfair than most I know, I do know that many times when it was more than fair in my favor. My son was brutally assaulted in 2002 and lived when they thought he would die. Other parents have lost children with less severe injuries. Do they think it’s fair? Probably not. Fairness has worked out for me on both ends of the spectrum. My unfair lot today is somehow balanced by other times when it was more than fair. If I tallied it all up, would it work out? I don’t know, but I’m not going there today or any other day. It’s a tally I don’t need to know.

The third thing is that I am grateful for what I’ve had for as long as I’ve had it. Many other people never turn their lives around. Many other people who are addicted to abusive and horrible people never get out. People die in abusive relationships every day. People stay in abusive relationships because they are afraid to leave.

I got out and got help and got better, and I cobbled together a wonderful life. I’ve made all my dreams come true. I know that from the day I left my first marriage, nothing will ever ever ever be that bad again. When I left that marriage, I was helpless and hopeless. It was the darkest time of my life but I have built a wonderful life and a strong foundation despite it all. A lot of people are unwilling or unable to get to here from there.

I am far from the picture of serenity or serene acceptance. I do have moments where I mentally kick and scream. I do cry and sometimes get angry that I am crying. I do rail at the universe and life and love and everything in between. I am not Mother Teresa.

But whining and wailing and kicking and screaming 24/7 is not going to help me at all. What is going to help is to know that fairness has nothing to do with anything and that love is the only thing that matters. Love is an action and love makes everything else easier.

We can’t expect fairness and we can’t expect positive outcomes to all of our dilemmas. The most we can do with what we are given (whether it’s good, bad or indifferent) is to do our work and be the best person we can be surrounded by the best people we can surround ourselves with.

Life is inherently unfair. It’s a tough road a lot of the times. Whining about losing people who mistreat you just makes life harder. Why make it harder? Why torture yourself mentally and emotionally? Why add to the burden that life can be all on its own? Why be so unfair to yourself when you have to deal with the basic unfairness of life that cannot be prevented? You can prevent the unfairness and mistreatment you do to yourself and allow others to do. You can’t prevent the horrific stories, the deaths, the accidents, the sick children and dying parents. You can’t do a damn thing about any of that. But you can be good to yourself and surround yourself with good people to help buffer against the wind.

Kick the bananaheads to the curb. Surround yourself ONLY with loving people. Share your wisdom when you find it…pass it on to someone who needs to know what you have learned. Do your work and talk to others who are doing theirs. Be good to you. Hold yourself up to the highest standards and insist that everyone treat you well but most of all: YOU TREAT YOU WELL. And life–this brief journey of ours–unfair as it is sometimes, will be better than your wildest dreams.

The road is hard, life is difficult and unfair but love, REAL LOVE, LOVE IS AN ACTION LOVE, softens it and the good moments are so worth it. Don’t waste your time (and life!) on those who do not know that love is an action and you are the best thing since the folded napkin. Surround yourself with those who can soften your journey…become a person who softens the journey for others including, most importantly, yourself.

Life is, indeed, unfair. But the last thing that should make it unfair is your treatment of you.

Do your work. Don’t wallow in self-pity but don’t attack yourself emotionally and mentally with negative self-talk or contacting people who have no use for you. Balance your life with knowledge that life is unfair but other people have it worse than you but you don’t have to make it harder on yourself with negative self-talk and contact with unloving bananaheads.

Turn it around. Make your life the best that it can be and a shelter from the storm that is life. Don’t make things worse for yourself.

Life is not fair but you can be fair to yourself. Start today and give yourself the love and fairness you truly deserve.


This is the video I did in 2015 around Gratitude, Fairness and Loss

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10 Responses to Life Isn’t Fair (so you need to be fair to you)

  1. bandick says:

    ‘Why’ has definitely been the number one question rolling around in my brain. I spent the first week thinking about karma and what I possibly could have done in my past to have deserved to be treated so poorly.

    I now recognize that I didn’t do anything to deserve being treated so carelessly by someone I loved so much. But in thinking about karma, I’ve dug up some things I did many years ago that I never really dealt with and now I can.

    Every step of this journey is an opportunity for me to grow into the woman I always thought I was. In the beginning, I was resentful that he made this mess and I was the only one doing any clean up. But now I am grateful for the wake up I needed for real (lasting) growth.

  2. lavender62 says:

    Thank you Susan, this topic has been circling in my mind quite often and I can’t tell you how it has put things in perspective.

    One of the things that I question many times is why some people, and some women in my case can have it all. I have a good friend who is almost the oposite of myself. Seems like she just has to ask God for something and she gets it tenfold. She has a strong faith and she is one of the strongest women I have ever known, I mean mentally tough, she is controlling and sometimes arrogant, but her smarts and toughness always delivers the goods for her. I have known great Christian faithful women who are plagued with problems and hardships, others not so nice or bordering in the controlling and narcissistic who have easy, aboundant lives: really great kids, all professionals and happily married, good faithful husband, great house, vacations and all. So where’s the fairness?

    Personally I consider myself a nice, woman, too soft and naive sometimes and probably not the sharpest tool in the box, but smart enough to know. This post from Susan makes so much sense and as she writes, fairness is all relative, so I’ll stop whinning and looking at others fortune or misfortune and concentrate in my life and be good to myself.

  3. kmwhite38 says:

    OH my Goodness, this article came at such a perfect time today. Last night was possibley the worst in my life and I was definitely feeling the “unfair” of it all. I have had 12 days of NC with BH and yesterday he started texting me, I’m sory, I will ALWAYS LOVE YOU, never Forget you, and I had a weak moment and started texting back. Keep in mind he has a new girlfriend and has been publicaly posting on FB, out with her and not caring or having a bit of respect about my feelings. Yesterday, I broke down, got weak and texted back and forth with him. I cancelled a date with a nice guy and ended up meeting my girlfriend for dinner and drink at a local small bar/restarurnt. He lives accross town, so this has been “my” place, and we live in a small town, so I have kept my distance. well guess who shows up there last night together. It was the first time I have seen him in 33 days, and he was with HER. I almost died, I couldn’t breathe- and I ran out of there, like I had been just been shot at. I went home and then I got angry- REALLY, REALLY ANGRY and started texting him, what an ASS, ETC, ETC… I snapped. I did, I finally had been pushed to my limit. To put the cherry on top, his new “girlfriend” started texting me at 1:00 AM, telling me how “fat and ugly” I am, which I’m not, how she is going to “kick my a**” I just didnt respond to her, but it on for an hour. I am 38 years old, he is 48 and he keeps texting and emailing me… IM LIKE WHY??? LEAVE ME ALONE, he is trying to push my buttons. I keep coming the BLOG to read and re-read everything…. I just don’t know how to stop it. I will never, answer or read another thing he sends me. the DELETE button is my friend. I WANT to HURT him, like he hurt me!! I have this huge URGE to just do anything, something….. I want that urge to go away. I have journaled, sat with my feelings… but it won’t go away. Even in my dreams…. I want to hurt him, but I am starting to reazlize, you can’t hurt someone with NO HEART. 9 years wasted with this BH… He is a person I don’t even recognize. I will survive and life may not be fair at times, but it is worth it!! This BLOG and the articles have been life saving to me at times in desperate moments. I want him to let me go!! WHY, won’t he LET ME GO, leave me ALONE!!

    • bandick says:

      Check to see how to block their numbers. I think most phone companies have call and text blocking options. Call the phone company if you have to. It will offer more peace than having to use your delete button.

      Be grateful he released you from his crazy life. It doesn’t sound like either of them are getting much by being together…they both sound pretty unstable.

      The dreams can be frustrating, but your brain is healing from a traumatic event. My dreams are always difficult because I’m usually trying to find my ex and he’s always super happy when I do. But then I wake up and remind myself that my brain is still in heavy processing mode.

      It’s okay to feel angry, but that’s a surface emotion for the grief. Feel it, release it, don’t act on it. Don’t let him take you away from yourself.

    • skyzona says:

      I would save the text & go down to the court house & get an order of protection. No one should threaten you like that & get you defensive enough to have feeling of hurting them. I had to do that & set up major boundaries that my soon to be ex husband still tries to cross.

      Just remember you are taking the high road & getting pulled down to that level with them will make you feel worse. My best friend always says, now you know what you dont want & it is time to start carving out your new life. I was exactly where you are & the bad dreams are finally starting to go away. Even though I have kids with him & have to see him & hear about the woman that played a part in destroying our marriage. It will get better! Just dont let them get your goat & stand tall with dignity & grace. YOU CAN DO THIS!!!

  4. Cat003 says:

    I absolutely love this post. This struck a cord, something I have searched for and needed to find the answer to the question, “why is life unfair?” You have answered it for me…. “Life is not fair but you can be fair to yourself.” I remember when I actually googled that very thing but nothing abated the questioning more than this answer. If it’s not fair then the very LEAST I can do is be fair to myself. Simply, beautiful.

    I’m still learning from you Susan and you may not be Mother Theresa but you have a wisdom and determination of a Saint.

    Thank you.

  5. tree123 says:

    Wow, talk about timing…just a few hours ago I was telling a friend how unfair life is, life(my life) just sucks! How is it that someone like me, a good person, has been through so much crap in the past three years…a divorce, I lost my dad due to an illness at the same time, my beloved cat had cancer(thankfully he is doing fine), lost my boyfriend, lost my jobs and now have absolutely no income. What next?

    I am so bitter right now, I am just mad at the world. I am so sick of be dealt a crappy hand. And to make things even more frustrating, my ex-husband has a long-time girlfriend and my ex BH I am pretty sure has a girlfriend. REALLY??? And what do I have..nothing. I feel like life is a constant uphill battle. I feel like I am climbing a mountain and the dirt I am trying to hang onto keeps crumbling and I am getting nowhere. I am getting tired of climbing. I honestly don’t even know what my purpose in life is anymore. I feel like I am trudging through snow with a broken compass and have absolutely no direction where to go. At this point, it would be easier to just quit.

    • Cat003 says:

      Hi tree123 (cute moniker),
      I hate to be the one to break the good news to you but you are exactly where you are suppose to be right now…and always! Being lost in the snow storm is a great metaphor for how you have become a blank canvass for YOUR own life! Now pick up your own personal paintbrush and start painting the life you always dreamed of and wanted, stroke by stroke, carefully choosing your colors, blending, mixing, creating and doing. Forget the exes, forget the exes gf’s and turn the focus onto YOU. Nothing matters but you and the snowstorm…what are you going to do with this once in a lifetime gift…a complete new beginning with no outside influences, just you making every decision that creates a life you are worthy of having, YOUR own! Susan once said, “do not paint your life with someone else’s brood brush,” and isn’t that true! I can’t wait to hear how it all turns out for you…you are in such a cool place, it doesn’t feel like it, but from once being there and looking back, it was the “best of times and the worst of times!” Mostly though, the best. Today, you stop clawing, you stop pining, you stop focusing on others and you sit, think, plan, dream, build and start building YOUR life. “Be the person you want to meet.” As Susan always said, “You CAN do this,” MOVE girl…get moving!

      No quitting necessary! No job necessary! No significant others necessary! The only requirement is NC and moving forward, one step at a time…one paint stroke at a time.


      • tree123 says:

        Hi Cat!

        Thanks for your reply! My grandmother is an artist, a very good one in fact. So, visualizing my life as a blank canvass that I am now in charge of creating is perfect! I am going to pick up my paintbrush today and get started. I want it to have lots of color, be very vibrant and fun. I want to stand back and look at my creation and be proud of what I have created. No regrets, I am tired of regrets. I will choose my colors carefully. And the best part about the canvas, I can always paint over a color that doesn’t seem “just right” 🙂

        “Be the person you want to meet” is awesome! That is going to be one of my new affirmations. I am actually going to print this and post it on my mirror…thanks Susan for the quote 🙂 I will also incorporate into my affirmations, “Your painting looks beautiful, great job!”.

        So grateful for your reply! Hope you have an awesome day Cat 🙂


        • Cat003 says:

          That’s the spirit and how cool of you to honor your grandmother’s talent with tapping into your own…it’s in the genes! I’m glad my post resonated with you and hopefully motivates you to pay it forward some time down the road. I promise, you will get through this and you WILL come out of it all transformed and authentic to yourself. I love your addition to your very own metaphor…you can always paint over what you don’t like, just like you can always choose to put this awful experience behind you, not waste another single moment of your beautiful cool life and build your own smile from the inside out.
          Again, keep me posted about your progress…I just know you are going to do something more other than pine after someone that doesn’t see you for all your worth. I have a good feeling about it. Maybe because you reminded me of that time in my life and how I felt very much how you described…but I have walked through the tunnel and GIRL!…the other side is so freeing and cool. Happy Holiday’s, make it count! It’s not how people treat you…it’s how you treat you.

          Thanks for sharing with us on this site, it does matter to feel connected!

          Maybe grandma is awaiting your call? just sayin’.


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