3 Ways To Deal: When Life Is Unfair

When I experience unfairness or injustice my body feels it instantly. My fight/flight mode kicks in, anger and fear bubble like a volcano. I stew with anxiety, and if left unchecked I feel depressed for some time, until I soak in a proper dose of reality and some exercise. 

Fairness is subjective. Life is not fair because it is not supposed to be. Life is competitive short and painful. I think it is important to come terms with this, and not perpetuate the suffering by dwelling and complaining. Complaining about the unfairness of life is pouring salt on a wound. Here are some things I like to do when a door is slammed in my face, or a promotion sails by my office desk, or when I simply cannot take the injustice anymore of anything in my life. 

  • Exercise 

When that anger or rage fills my body the best thing I do for myself is get up and move. Sometimes unfairness hits you when you are burnt out and it seems counterintuitive to move, but it is important to do so to remove yourself of all the stress hormones raging through your body. Go for a run, a walk, bike ride or simply move around your house. When you perceive injustice or unfairness your body responds with anger and fear, get some fresh air and move to get rid of the toxins. A change of scenery and movement helps your body and mind relax. 

  • Create a Goal and Achieve It

Competition is something we all live with. Comparing our lives with others is just part of living in society. Now with social media it is more prevalent than ever before. Most of our unfair views come from our expectations that we should have what everyone else has. But we don’t know how others have achieved their perceived success. Luck over hard work has a lot to do with success, and that is something no one is able to control. When I create a goal, big or small and actually achieve it, this helps me achieve a sense of control over my life. I try to be in competition with the only person I should be, with myself. Your life should not be in competition with anyone else but yourself, the most important task is developing your own self worth so that your perception of fairness is not so obtuse that complaining dominates your life. Success is handed out unfairly, so setting your own personal goals that are attainable are important to satisfy your self esteem and live a fulfilled life.

  • Practice Gratitude

When you can’t get the things you want, appreciate the things you have. There have been many moments in my life when I thought that I would just quit because things seemed so unfair. But then I stopped and thought about all the things that I have accumulated getting to that point, and only when I stopped and looked back I realized how much richness I have in my life. When you feel like you need or want something other than what you presently have, you will always see life as unfair. Chasing success, material things and status is addictive. Constantly looking forward, never looking back is a vicious cycle creating a scarce mind set and unsatisfied life. Maybe my life isn’t exactly the way I want it but it also isn’t exactly the way I don’t want it. Life is subjective and fairness is subjective. What I have, someone else would kill for, so it isn’t all doom and gloom. There are so many surprises that come out of not getting what you want, these sometimes can turn out to be the biggest blessings of your life.  Be grateful because you never know what is coming next.

Life is complex, with many obstacles, and nothing is for certain. Life wasn’t meant to be fair, but it definitely is beautiful and worth it. By accepting the realities of your own life and looking at unfair moments as opportunities to grow and learn your body and mind will interact in a healthier way.

Don’t resist change.

The only way out is through. 

“The only thing that makes life unfair

is the delusion that it should be fair.”

– Steve Maraboli 

Gaslights, Light The Way

It is undeniable the damage a gaslighter can do if you get too close to their fire. Reality to me is something that is uncontested truth. I like facts, words and the concreteness of things. To some, reality is merely an illusion that is simply energy, a perisistent illusion. I think of reality as something that is real and existent as opposed to something that is imaginery, it is the totality of a system, known and unknown. Physcial objects, tangible and real things make up reality. I like to play with the “what-ifs” and the “what could be” once in a while, but I certainly am not blind to the “what-is” in my life.

But what happens when someone tries to undermine your entire perception of reality? 

Throughout my life I have met all sorts of people, from different backgrounds from my travels and even in my own city through school, work and different love relationships. The personalities that have helped solidify my own perception of myself the most where the… gaslighters. 

Gaslighters communicate in way that leave you feeling dazed, and make you question if there is something wrong with you.

Gaslighting is basically underming your reality. It is about power and control. Some basic tactics are minimizing your thoughts and feelings, deflecting and shifting blame, denying wrongdoing, using compassion as a weapon and twisting and reframing conversations. It is the behaviour not the person that I don’t tolerate. I believe that everyone can do better. I am not perfect myself and have caught myself torching others with these tactics. Awareness is key.

Gaslighters have shown me my light.

In the past I  have entertained opinions about my character and put them on to wear but they never fit. The negative realities and the perceptions that were not my own were itchy, uncomfortable and never sat well with me. I am not against constructive criticism but there is a fine line. My judgments and perceptions are my own to express no matter what the other person feels. If this is challenged to the point that I have lost my opinions and feelings and adopted the other persons perceptions this is no longer a true representation of my world. 

When my husband and I decided to change and grow and pursue a healthy life including going booze free, I thought we would receive only postive feedback. To my surprise that wasn’t the case, and not only did we receive negative feedback, but we found ourselves isolated for a while from people we thought we could trust and support us.

For a time I was confused but then I realized that I have a voice and I have the right to express it. I was able to carry my truth of my reality only when I wasn’t afraid to lose people that didn’t allow me to grow in my life and I let them go. 

Let the gaslighters carry their perception of you by themselves, you don’t need to burden yourself with other peoples opinions of you. I am glad I ditched those torches. That was not my baggage.

I think that if you make a commitment to your reality, and what you think your future should look like, this is more important than how others perceive you. I now understand that no matter how hard you try to please others, or try to explain your perspective and feelings, it is not worth losing your power and your sense of self.

You own your right to make space in the world and show up in a way that celebrates who you are. Raw, unfiltered and real. Too many times I have let my self-image, my persistence to please and my fear, take my voice away. Now I see, that even if I generate positive energy, make myself healthier or try to contribute for the good, there will always be opposition and that reality has nothing to do with me. It takes a gaslighter sometimes to show you the light, to help you solidify your own truth and give you strength to never allow anyone to dim your light again.

Hold that torch high.

Keep shining.

Keep moving. 

You Got This!

From Avoiding Conflict to Fighting Fair

I don’t know about you but I love a good argument. I am always down to figure out difficult solutions, accept disagreements, try to understand obtuse ideas, far out perspectives and extreme scenarios of any kind. Within reason of course.

I like to freely air out grievances, get things off my chest. I think this is very healthy for growth. 

I love to assert my ideas and defend my perspectives, guard my values and principles. But when it comes down to the hard uncomfortable real life confrontations, I seem to always do a playback of what was said. I find that the difficult conversations that we have with people bring so much more than just words. The adrenaline rush that comes with fighting, always finds its way to my throat first before reason, or kind words. Over the years I have sharpened my communication skills as opposed to my tongue, to navigate fair fights with the people in my life. 

In any scenario it is always good to have some tools in your pocket to help you get through a fight in a fair way. Strong unwanted words cannot be unsaid and the bad vibes that linger, stay until a new secure relationship takes its place post battle. Unwanted, strong harsh words and feelings are exhausting, damaging and easily avoided. 

Here are some tools for fighting fair: 

Set the Stage 

If you confront someone or if someone confronts you, either unexpectedly or planned, be prepared to set some ground rules. These could include, no swearing, no yelling, no name-calling or whatever you need to make you feel safe and calm. 

Also pick a place to fight. Ask the person to meet you in a spot that makes you feel calm and safe. If you are confronted immediately step back and ask to postpone the meeting for some other time. If this is not possible, visualize a calm safe space, this will take you out of your fight/flight mode and help you tap into your reasoning brain, which will help you communicate more effectively. 

I like to talk hard uncomfortable stuff in nature, a walk in the park or just out on my front porch. I find it calming and a very neutral space for all that hard energy to dissipate. But if that is not an option, try a space that you have been before that makes you feel good, a coffee shop, a certain room in your house or even an area in a building, like a lobby. The calmer and safer the space the better your mind will react to strong emotions. 

Express your Needs and Negotiate Solutions 

In a perfect world my fights would always end with me as the winner. I like to right fight. I would beat my chest and say, “I told you so!” for all the world to hear, periodically through the day to boost my mood and ego. Ok, STOP! That’s nonsense, because we all know that we grow from change and that change also includes having difficult conversations with people and that doesn’t include being right or winning an argument.

Some of my biggest growth spurts came from serious fights with family members, co-workers, bosses and boyfriends. The raw emotion that travels through a confrontation has a powerful way to rewire our brains, perspective and to allow us to get to the next level of maturity. In all this raw emotion though you have to find strength to  express your needs and cannot lose your sense of dignity, integrity and respect for the other person. 

Sometimes our confrontations happen organically with people not from anything we have done but simply because others are not allowing you to grow. You need to know how to express your needs and negotiate solutions during and post confrontations. You need to establish what you need for yourself as you grow and communicate this to people. Nobody can read your mind. Building healthy boundaries is key to navigating a fair fight, because then you know what your breaking point is and what your limitations are. You need to express these limitations explicitly, so that solutions can be tailored to your specific personality needs and that all parties experience a sense of fairness. 

Know When to Walk Away

All confrontations are worth exploring, even if it is just for personal growth. But some fights are not worth it. Sometimes you just need to walk  away. 

In the book Mastery by Robert Greene the chapter, Suffer fools gladly Greene illustrates how sometimes it is not worth your energy to entertain a difficult relationship with people who have foolish personalities and make cooperation impossible. He gives a description of a fool as a person that is money grabbing, obsessed with their public image, has short term thinking, ego driven, ruled by insecurities and gets little done to name a few. Greene advises, “if they are causing you trouble, you must neutralize the harm they do by keeping a steady eye on your goals and what is important, and ignoring them if you can.” – (Mastery Robert Greene) Sometimes we all act a fool, and giving people the benefit of the doubt should come first before walking away. But, when it is impossible to entice your opponent to a fair fight due to their innate difficult personality then it is worth the walk, because a dirty fight always leaves the deepest scars that take the longest to heal. 

Fight often. 

Fight Fair. 

Grow. 

Imagination is Your Magic

Dino roars are common in my living room, coming out of my toddlers little lungs, at full capacity. 

I join in, every time! 

I roar with him, and try to imagine the feelings and images he is creating, in his mind as he swirls around my kitchen, into the hallway and down to the living room. 

The more I entertain my imagination with him, the more I sink into the moment, and feel true presence.

It is in these times that I think how powerful imagination is to our health, and sense of fulfilment. Presence alone cannot satisfy the true richness that a moment brings, it’s also the simulation of new sensations out of nothing that is remarkable. From nothing your mind can create something. 

When I set up a goal for myself, I immediately imagine what it would feel like having completed that goal. I relish in the end product, in the pride of accomplishment, and the idea of what it would be like if a certain outcome came to be. 

Imagination is a great tool to envision a path or a dream come to fruition. 

But why is it so much easier for children to accept imagination as it comes, without attachment, without wanting and grasping for completion. Childrens imagination is limitless and keeps giving. At what age does this change? 

Over the years, I have come to terms that my dreams and visions are exactly what they are supposed to be. I have imagined my life up with the help of my thoughts and emotions, to create the picture of what my life is today, and it is a magical story, with rich characters and fantastical plot lines. Imagination has never left me, it has just adapted to my adult needs. Children believe in fantastic tales and create amazing stories. I don’t see why imagination should ever be rejected or forgotten about.

It is because of imagination, we have the lives we have. 

I still have many opportunities in my life where I use my childlike imagination to see the wonder in people and my life, if I choose to. I think everyone has the opportunity to slay dragons at work, battle storms at home, ride stallions across town to see friends, trap wizards in the grocery store, and run from dinosaurs in the park. The choice is ours. 

Don’t forget to dream, and create the story in which you are the hero of your life. Give yourself a moment in the day to put away the “what is” and try on “what could be”. This is important, for keeping yourself flexible, and accepting the most vulnerable part of yourself. The child that you used to be. 

Your imagination is your magic.

“Watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you,

because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.

Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it”

The Minpins by Roald Dahl 

Casual Conversations about Loneliness

I have always wondered how other people experience loneliness. 

Is it painful? 

Where does it hurt? 

How long does it last? 

I have never posed this question to anyone. It is an awkward topic of conversation. I guess it might be that we don’t really want anyone to know that we are experiencing feelings of loneliness. To be social and have a lot of social connections is more popular than bringing up conversations surrounding feeling alone or isolated. I know for myself, despite having many friends, this does not guarantee feelings of belonging and understanding. Your perception of the quality of your relationships and how you feel about them has a lot to do with how you are going to interpret your feelings of being connected. If the experience of loneliness is highly subjective and is defined by a state of mind of feeling alone or isolated can someone potentially experience the opposite of loneliness if there were a space or platform to open up conversations surrounding loneliness, like in any setting, work, home, the grocery store, the library, etc? Why aren’t we casually talking about feeling lonely?

When I was partying and drinking my younger years away, my motives for partying was for connection and belonging. Of course, peer pressure played a major role in that lifestyle as well but mainly for me it was finding a place to be heard and understood. I wanted a sounding board for my life that accepted me for who I was, which was ironic because when I drank this was not a true representation of my authentic self. So here I was trying to get accepted wearing a mask. Not true acceptance at all. 

As I matured and embraced my health and my new way of life with no alcohol, I adapted to interacting with people differently, in different settings and I grew. My loneliness loosened its grip on me and it definitely doesn’t have the ferocity it used to have. Sometimes it still creeps up on me when I am not understood, accepted, rejected or feel disconnected from people. In those situations I rely on my logical mind to kick in to over analyze the situation and to neutralize my feelings of loneliness. I dropped the analyzing with time and replaced it with acceptance. I adopted the thinking “it is what it is” that’s it! I accepted people for who they showed me they were, the situations I was in, the role I played in situations, how coincidence and chance played out in my life and simply accepted that I was ok to sit by myself if that was what the situation called for. If I needed to be there for me, I was there for myself by accepting myself. If I needed help or social connection I reached out without attachment and grasping. The people pleaser in me fell off. The mask finally gone.

The solo work that I did getting myself healthy established a deep connection with myself that I bring to all my relationships today. The perception of the quality of my relationships has changed as I am aware of my own worth. The better I started treating myself, the better I treated others, this in turn fostered better, healthier relationships. Intimacy comes from knowing your own needs and responding to yourself in a way that you allow true connection. This connection, even if the feeling is just for a moment, is important to keep your emotional and mental health on track. This connection can be with nature, your religion, earth, people, yourself, your children, and the list goes on. Even when it is impossible to physically socialize with other people, loneliness doesn’t have to dominate your thoughts and feelings if you find a way to connect with someone or something that is truly important to you. I found solace in finding a way to cultivate my need for health, through running, cooking organic healthy meals and meditating. Even though these are activities that are done alone, I don’t feel lonely because I am doing them with the person that knows and appreciates me the best…with myself.