Do you find yourself missing out on career opportunities more often than others? Do you seem always to get caught in the rain? Perhaps you miss a lot of appointments due to unexpected circumstances. From the silliest mistakes to major losses, some things can make one ask, “Why is life so unfair?”
It’s a simple question without a simple answer. It’s only natural to find yourself struggling to address this in your life. To help ease your burden, we’ve put together this guide for why life seems so unfair sometimes and what you can do about it.
Why Is Life So Unfair? 6 Reasons
This is a common philosophical question asked by many. Here are some answers to help you grapple with it:
1. Lack of Control Over Circumstances
To begin with, you have little to no control over certain circumstances, such as the family you’re born into, your gender, your genetic makeup, and your nationality. However, these greatly influence your life and will dictate your future.
Being born into wealth will undoubtedly set a person up for a better life than someone who is middle-class or poor. Similarly, being born in a stable first-world country will also bring that person more privileges than if they were born in a developing state.
What’s more? Life is random and unpredictable, and you can never predict when a life-changing opportunity might come your way. And you will not know what misfortune will come. This randomness, unpredictability, and circumstances can make a person feel like life is unfair because so much is out of their control.
2. Unequal Opportunities
Another reason why life is unfair is because opportunities aren’t distributed equally. Those in a higher socioeconomic class will naturally have access to better academic and career opportunities than those who aren’t. Society has developed in this way, and the status quo has remained for centuries.
Even if you believe you can take on more responsibilities in the workplace, certain opportunities may be given to others because of their connections or academic background.
3. Unequal Distribution of Rewards
You may not always be able to reap the rewards for your efforts in the workplace, school, or even at home. You may even be stumped when another person gets rewards for doing even less work than you.
The more you encounter such situations, the more likely you are to believe that your actions or skills will not make a difference. This may further make you feel that life is unfair.
4. Unfair Expectations
Sometimes, you may feel like life is unfair because you’re constantly being judged based on unfair expectations of others.
From academics and societal behaviors to beauty standards and family responsibilities, people expect plenty of things from each other. Some of them are based on gender, age, and other factors, and are often quite biased against those who are not in the “norm.”
For example, a boss who ascribes to certain stereotypes about men and women might end up assigning tasks and promoting employees based on these outdated beliefs.
5. Inequality Loop
Sometimes, inequalities can lead to even more unfair situations in life. Whether it is an unfair circumstance or a lack of opportunity, it can push one into the path of more challenges. And this can end up creating an inequality loop that runs on its own. Even if the person going through it understands how they’re encountering unfair situations and why, they cannot break out of it easily.
An example of such an inequality loop is when a person faces discrimination at their workplace because of their gender or religion. This can prevent them from progressing ahead in their career as everyone else does, which can lead to them experiencing unfair social or financial consequences.
6. Perspective and Mindset
Perspective and mindset do not have any direct influence on unfair circumstances or inequality. However, they can make your life seem unfair even if it isn’t.
You may hold certain negative biases about the people around you, which may lead you to think that situations are unfair to others or yourself. In your perspective, you might think you’re more deserving of a job than your colleague who got promoted.
How to Cope with Life Being Unfair?
We’ve explored various reasons why life may seem unfair to some people. Perhaps you now realize that life isn’t fair in the first place. But then, what can you do about it? Well, if you’ve read until this point, you’re on the right path.
While you can’t do anything about an unfair society, you can deal with your circumstances better and reduce their negative effects on you.
1. Start Recognizing the Unfair
The first step to developing better coping mechanisms is identifying unfair situations for what they are. Don’t try to find blame or look for solutions; simply start by accepting that a situation is unjust to begin with.
2. Focus on What You Can Control
Once you’ve identified what is unfair about your situation, shift your focus and take notice of the things you can control. These can be related to your current situation or general things in your life.
The trick is to focus on what is within your control and do not ruminate or be upset about things that aren’t.
3. Take Action
With too many unfair things in the world, you might find it hard to be motivated and excited to do anything anymore. While this is perfectly normal, you shouldn’t keep this mindset for too long.
To break out of this cycle, take actions in your best interest and do them with enthusiasm. Instead of waiting for difficult things to go away, be proactive enough to avoid the brunt of unfair situations in the future.
4. Control Your Environment
Despite your lack of control over many aspects of life, there are still things you can manage yourself. And these are things that can help you cope with the unfairness of it all: the people you surround yourself with, your role models, the places you visit, etc.
5. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Inequality in terms of opportunities may persist, but you may be missing out on potential from places you aren’t paying attention to. This is why it is essential to go beyond your expected zone of opportunity.
Think about the last positive event in your life. Then, try to find the opportunity hidden in that event that you managed to seize.
Another way to do this is to get out of your comfort zone. Face your fear of failure and go for an opportunity that seems too challenging and exciting. Then, you simply give your best!
6. Celebrate Wins
Celebrate all of your wins, no matter how small they may seem. Since life is unfair anyway, good news must be celebrated with more rigor. Give yourself a pat on the back for those small wins you collect, and maintain a positive attitude about them. This can help you find more joy in life.
When you celebrate more wins, you will have more power to cope with future losses. Over time, losses due to unfair circumstances won’t pull you down too much anymore. You can even think of the trials and small wins as your rewards or checkpoints for staying resilient against life’s odds.
7. Cultivate Gratitude
Despite the overwhelming unfairness in the world, there are still many things to be grateful for. Waking up in the morning, eating three meals a day, and being healthy are easy to take for granted. But it doesn’t matter that these are simple things – they are still very meaningful.
Cultivating gratitude will help you focus on the many blessings you take for granted. We usually never realize their importance unless they’re taken away from us, so acknowledging these positive things can make a huge difference in our lives.
When you practice gratitude, you can also think about those who might not have the luxury of these simple things. This enables you to shift your mindset about unfair events.
8. Practice Self-Care and Self-Compassion
Practicing mindful self-care and self-compassion regularly has been known to help build resilience and reduce mental and physical impairment. Begin with paying more attention to your mind’s and body’s needs and try your best to fulfill them. Look at and talk to yourself with more compassion, as you would a close friend.
Prioritize these self-care activities and perform them daily.
9. Find Meaning and Purpose
The unfairness of life can be a lot to handle. You need a strong will and motivation to keep fighting and persevering through challenges. And this is where your purpose and meaning will come in.
Think about the purpose you want to follow in life and the “why” behind it all. Consider the path you want your life to take regardless of how many setbacks you may face. Then, create a plan of action to help you move toward your purpose.