Why Isn’t Life Fair? Part 1. By Dr Linda Berman

Christian Fagerlund – Sunlight [2015] Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“It’s just not fair!!”

How often do we hear our children say this?

Yet, perhaps now, more than ever, many of us feel that life is unfair, but we may be too embarrassed to say it.

Well, now is the time to say it….. to have the freedom of children to clench our fists, stamp our feet and yell very loudly …



How many times have we all felt like this since Covid 19 reared its ugly head? How many parties, weddings, holidays, concerts and other fun experiences have been cancelled since March of this year?

It might feel like the universe is conspiring against us, just when we hoped for something good in our lives.

No, it isn’t fair at all, not for any of us.

50332917957_b0be7d58a6_oDavid Drebin – Eyes Closed [2005]Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

How unfair it is that some of us have been locked down, perhaps been very ill with Covid, hospitalized,  quarantined, unable to be visited by or call on our closest friends and family, to attend funerals or to say goodbye to loved ones who have died? 

It’s not fair for the older people, who may feel cut off and isolated. How unfair it all is for younger people, for the students, who cannot take part in the usual student life as they begin university.

Instead, they may be locked down in their sparse rooms, deprived of social contact, with only a laptop for company.

Students may feel so lonely in their new surroundings anyway, without a lockdown exacerbating the feelings of isolation.


Shinya Sato – Snooze [2014] Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

There are hardships imposed by the virus for all age groups. The feelings they cause make us unhappy, resentful, miserable, thinking that we have been dealt a poor hand in life.

How on earth can we cope with and manage such difficult and resentful emotions?

Here are a few Ways Of Thinking, some attitudes to life one can develop that might mitigate the awful feelings of unfairness:

Attitude 1: Coping With Whatever Life Throws At Us.

32157497805_3b195c673c_oJeremy Geddes – Perfect Vacuum [2011] Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

Life is tough sometimes, isn’t it? It will inevitably throw us curve-balls; things will not always turn out right for us.

There are no set rules for how life will go. It may at times feel random, unpredictable, unfathomable in its arbitrariness. That is exactly how life is…. random, arbitrary, erratic.

Life is NOT Supposed to be Fair. Know that there is no single way that life is supposed to be. Demanding that life meet our expectations is a sure fire recipe for a miserable existence. Life is a game with no rules.

Life just happens to us regardless of our best intentions. Our only path to happiness lies in being open to receiving whatever life throws at us – with Gratitude. Have NO Expectations of life.

Jonathan Lockwood Huie

What we need in order to manage the random nature of our fortunes is Courage. Courage and Resilience.

These two qualities will allow us to withstand trouble and crisis better, to recover from them and bounce back with increased wisdom and strength.

The tough times in life can ultimately make us stronger.

“My scars remind me that I did indeed survive my deepest wounds. That in itself is an accomplishment. And they bring to mind something else, too.

They remind me that the damage life has inflicted on me has, in many places, left me stronger and more resilient. What hurt me in the past has actually made me better equipped to face the present.”  

Steve Goodier

Attitude 2: Trusting That Things Will Work Out In The End.

14030985664_5ef3793de9_oClaude Monet – The Studio Boat [1876]

“Don’t push the river, it flows by itself.”

Barry Stevens.

If we hold on to hope, this virus will come to an end, somehow. Life will begin to move forward again.

Call it what you will, faith, hope, experience of life, staying with uncertainty, trusting the process, in general things do seem to get resolved in life.

14454486873_13339e64ae_oEugene Jansson – Sunrise over the Rooftops [1868]Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

Attitude 3: Appreciating What We Do Have

It may seem that, at the moment, for many of us, there is not much to feel grateful for. Life is extremely tough for so many people.

I am well aware that for some, it is unbearably unfair. They may be very ill, have little money, no job, be in an abusive relationship or have abusive parents, they may be addicted to drugs, live on the streets, be cold and hungry. 

It may be hard then to be grateful for anything. The hope is that there are those amongst us who will help them through their difficult times, that kindness will prevail. But for some, even this may not happen. 

If you do have a home, clean water to drink, food to eat, warmth, and a friend or two, these are things to feel grateful for.

We can even appreciate aspects of ourselves we might have taken for granted, like the ability to see, hear, to breathe, to wake up in the morning.

Whatever life does throw at us, however difficult things might be, there is usually something to be grateful for.

The beauty of nature is unaffected by the crisis humanity is experiencing.

The year still turns and now the trees change imperceptibly to red and gold.

Nature is reminding us that the circle of life continues, and promising us that there will be new life next year.

‘Autumn is a second Spring, when every leaf is a flower.’



The poem below is an extract from The Lost Spells, by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris. Published by Penguin, 2020.



God know the world needs all

the good it can get right now.


Out in the gardens and fields,

Goldfinches are gilding the land for free,


Leaving little gifts of light:

a gleam for the teasel,

a glint for the tree.


Did you hear their bright scattered song,

their bright wings’ flitter ,


Falling around you as flecks,

as grains, as glitter?


Imagine the loss of their lustre,

the lack of their sheen:


No more shimmer,

a worrying absence of gilt.


Charm on, Goldfinch, charm on-


Heaven help us when

all your gold is gone.

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Visit Waysofthinking.co.uk again next week to read Part 2 of this post.

©Linda Berman

“Life is NOT Supposed to be Fair. Know that there is no single way that life is supposed to be. Demanding that life meet our expectations is a sure fire recipe for a miserable existence. Life is a game with no rules. Life just happens to us regardless of our best intentions. Our only path to happiness lies in being open to receiving whatever life throws at us – with Gratitude. Have NO Expectations of life. Jonathan Lockwood HuieIt may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime…

Khaled Hosseini
If Life was fair and perfect, we wouldn’t have stories to tell.
Nitya Prakash
The only thing that makes life unfair is the delusion that it should be fair.
Steve Maraboli

We don’t control anything. Life just happens and we are flowing with it. But we don’t see this evident truth for what it is. Because, when we do something and it delivers a result we want, we think we caused that outcome. And when we don’t get what we want, we feel that Life is unfair. But Life is not bothered – neither about our claim nor about how we feel. Life has a mind of its own; it just keeps on happening. So, the only way to inner peace is to flow with Life…doing whatever best we can in any given situation…that is the key to being non-worrying, non-frustrated and non-suffering, to be happy despite the circumstances!
AVIS Viswanathan

life is not fair… why does it rain the hardest on those who deserve the sun the most. 

Mercy Pheona
Life is not fair, but life is not fair for everyone…which actually makes it fair. 

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