Dear Sad and Angry,
I have had that sad and angry "life is unfair" feeling twice in the past week. The first time I felt it happened right before I first read your question. Well, it turned out that the thing I was all mad about wasn't actually unfair at all, and I had mostly just been imagining things.
I think a lot of seemingly unfair things are like that. With our limited perspective, we are often prone to thinking that some things are more unfair than they actually are because we don't know all the sides of the situation.
But then again, there are also a lot of things in the world that actually are just unfair.
Today, one of those things happened to me. I have been sitting here trying to think about what I should do or how I can get over it and I want to share some of the thoughts I have been having with you.
First, I thought to myself, why do we have such an obsession with what is and what isn't fair? I think that it comes from comparison. I mean, usually, when we are complaining about something that isn't fair, that perception of unfairness comes from a comparison that we have made between ourselves and somebody else. Here are some examples of some thoughts that people might have which demonstrate this idea:
- I studied three times as much as he did, and he still got a better grade than I did. Unfair.
- She always gets the boys, and now she gets him, too? Can't it ever be my turn? Unfair.
- I have to work 20 hours a week to pay for my rent and they don't even have to worry because their parents pay for everything. Unfair.
- I go to the gym every week and he just sits around eating ice cream, but he's still more in shape than I am. Unfair.
- I keep all the commandments and he isn't even worthy, but girls still like him more than they like me. Unfair.
See how, in all of these situations, the person thinking their life is unfair is comparing their life to somebody else's?
I realized that I do the same thing way too often, and honestly it is what I spent way too much of today doing.
Therefore, I think the best thing we can do when we feel like life isn't fair is remember that we should never determine how good our life is by comparing it to somebody else's life. Of course we start to feel like things are "unfair" when we compare because our life will never be the same as anybody else's! Everybody is different and everybody needs different experiences, trials, and blessings in order to learn what they need to learn in life.
For the last couple of years I have been trying to rid myself of jealousy and feel genuine happiness for the successes of others. I've come a long way, but I of course have a long way to go, and I guess today reminded me of that. Still, I know that it is a worthy goal because I have noticed that when I succeed at being truly happy for others, rather than being angry when things seem unfair, I also feel much more happy and satisfied with my own life.
My final thought on the matter, is that I bet that God doesn't see things as being "fair" or "unfair." I bet He just sees things as "this is what this person needs," and "this is what that person needs." He knows what is best, even though that may mean that some of us have to pass through more trials that others. He knows that it will all be fair in the end.
“All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ." -David A. Bednar