On the Unfairness of Life

My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations. ~ Michael J. Fox

You do all you can to live a healthy life.

You exercise. You eat all the right foods. You stay away from all the things that are toxic to the body. You even take care of your mind and spirit by taking in only certain kinds of information.

You go to the doctor for a routine exam and that’s when you’re hit with devastating news concerning your health.

How could this happen? How could this happen to me?

There are so many situations where these words are uttered.

You studied hard for a test but failed miserably.
You gave half your life to your job but got fired unceremoniously.
You saved for retirement but lost everything to the stock market.
You change your online passwords every month but still got your identity stolen.
You did all you could to keep your child on the straight and narrow but they still went astray.
You prayed to God for healing but you still got sick.

And as if to add insult to injury, you know people who are half the quality person you are, but who seem to have all that you want handed to them on a silver platter.

You pump your fist in righteous indignation at the unfairness of it all. Life is unfair. Yes, you’ve heard this phrase before, maybe even agree with it. But somewhere deep within you is another script running in the background that goes something like this:

“If I do good things and am a good person, good things will happen to me. A few bad things might happen, but I will be spared from the really bad stuff.”

Sadly, many people of faith base their relationship with God on this basic assumption— “I will worship you if you keep the really bad stuff out of my life.”

We bargain with God.
We bargain with the universe.
We bargain with our institutions.
We bargain with the people closest to us.
We bargain with ourselves.

Predictably, when the unthinkable happens we lose faith in the thing, deity, or person we placed our trust in. We become withdrawn, angry, and bitter. We may even blame ourselves for the bad thing or try to ascribe some meaning to it. Because it’s unbearable for us to even entertain the notion that bad things can happen for no reason at all.

It can happen, not because God is bad or because you were bad, but because we live in a world where bad things can and do happen.

Of course, there are many bad things that happen because people consciously choose to act in ways that harms themselves or others. But we’re talking about the “Acts of God” that have nothing to do with God.

How can we deal with the unfairness of life?

By coming to peace with the random aspects of our lives.

By understanding that our greatest source of pain is holding on to the belief that life should be fair.

By understanding that every single moment of every single day is a gift not to be squandered or wasted.

Once you understand these, you’ll stop imposing your bargains on a God who cannot accept the terms. You’ll stop trying to manipulate people and the world to conform to your will. And the quality of your life will dramatically improve.

How to Boost Your Confidence in Social Settings

So you’re in a room full of people at a social gathering.

Everybody seems to know each other and there are lively conversations all around.

But no one’s noticed you and you’ve been standing by yourself for the last 20 minutes.

How do you feel? What do you do?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been in this situation too many times to count. It feels pretty awful to not be seen or noticed. That’s why I put together this little video to help you overcome the dread of attending social functions with people you don’t know.

Are You Strong Enough to Follow Your Guidance?

“We listen for guidance everywhere except from within.” ~ Parker J. Palmer

Do you hear it?

The small still voice that whispers to you?

The voice isn’t whispering in your ear, but from deep within your soul.

Sometimes you try to ignore it. Other times you wish it would be stop. Other times still you think that maybe you’re going crazy. But though the noisiness of the world conspires to silence the voice, it continues to speak to you—like the constant drip of water eroding a mighty rock.

Be careful what you wish for

You know, it’s funny how we wish that someone would just tell us what to do, especially when faced with difficult decisions. But when guidance comes in the form of that still, small voice, we quickly dismiss it. We say things like “That’s just my imagination” or “That can’t be it.” We rationalize away the guidance because we’re afraid of the consequences of following it.

You may not choose to follow your guidance, but your guidance will continue to follow you. Actually, it will hound you. It won’t stop till it gets your attention. If the still small voice does not work, you start to feel it in your body and your emotions.

Stop pretending that you don’t hear or understand the voice. It’s time to be still and listen. What do you hear? It’s seldom in the form of clear sentences but mostly sensations that can be translated into one-word commands. Words like:

  • Stay
  • Stop
  • Go
  • Do
  • Love
  • Accept
  • Fight
  • Surrender
  • Give
  • Forgive
  • Trust

Operating under the direction of inner guidance

So the question that always comes up once you sit still long enough to listen to the guidance of your soul is:

“How do I know whether this guidance is genuine and not a product of my overactive imagination?”

A sure sign of genuine guidance is that practical concerns and considerations will rush in to stifle the idea before it can fully ripen. Concerns like “How will I support my family?” Or “How will I survive on my own?” Or “How will I succeed with no experience or track record?” All these practical concerns are effective obstacles to guidance because they are all reasonable.

We’re held captive by practical considerations because they act like sort of “spiritual gravity” that keeps us firmly grounded whenever we dare think of following inner guidance.

I would not simply ignore practical considerations or concerns. But dream with me for a moment. What if you could follow your inner guidance after carefully considering practical concerns? What if you could choose to go ahead anyways, trusting that your inner resourcefulness will not let you down?

Would you:

  • Finally let go the grudge you’ve been holding against someone for years so you can finally be at peace?
  • Start working on an exit strategy from a job that makes you miserable?
  • Initiate a difficult conversation in order to address the elephant in the room?
  • Walk away from an abusive relationship?
  • Make an appointment with a therapist or pastor?
  • Go on a vacation?
  • Start a side business?

If the answer is yes, then the only question left is, “Are you strong enough to follow your guidance?”