Core Belief #17 - Life is unfair



Since I brought up the idea of the victim mentality yesterday, I figured it only made sense to talk about a core belief that lends to that way of thinking. Unfortunately, the origins of this core belief date back to our earliest memories when something didn't go the way we hoped or we didn't get something we wanted. We have been told this by siblings, parents, teachers, coworkers, and even friends. I don't know why it has stuck around and been passed down through generations for as long as it has but I do know one thing; life is an idea, a concept, a theory; it's not possible for 'it' to be unfair. It would be like saying, love stinks. The idea of life or love by definition cannot be negative, they are simply things. We can make them amazing or we can make them suck. Either way, our perception of 'them' is based on our experiences with 'them; not what 'they' do to us.

Life is unfair


Whether life as an idea can be fair or not doesn't really matter if we choose to hold the core belief that life is unfair. Part of the concept behind core beliefs is the idea of rational and irrational thought. Believing that life is unfair is an irrational thought and it leads to the belief that we are victims of life. Life happens to us, is a way to conceptualize this irrational thought. By thinking in this way, we remove all responsibility from ourselves in the outcome of our lives. We believe we do not have a say in the way things turn out for us, so we simply walk through life waiting for the next shoe to drop, so to speak. We can never feel confident or positive about life because we know 'it' will inevitably let us down. When something positive happens, we even struggle to enjoy it because we know 'it' is fleeting and random in the larger schema of life. We pay very little attention to the positives because we only see them as dumb luck. The negative events in our lives, however, are deliberate and intentional acts that life premeditates and then thrusts upon us with little mercy; or, so we believe.


How is it possible for us to be so certain about one side of an equation and not so certain about the other? Mathematically speaking, for an equation to work both sides need to be equal. In the 'life is unfair' equation, however, the two sides don't add up. Negatives are intentional equals positives are random. It just doesn't make any sense. To be fair, I guess that is the definition of irrational thought. Nevertheless, we have to recognize the absurdity in our beliefs before we can even begin to understand and then change them. With that said, it is time for us to throw away this thought process and begin accepting and enacting the power and control we have in the outcome of our lives.


I am fair to myself and others


How and why we find ourselves in a victim mentality ultimately doesn't matter. There are many reasons why this can occur, and we have all been there at some point in our lives, but we have to understand there are equally as many reasons to let go of this mentality. The first goes back to my original statement about the unfairness of life and how we need to acknowledge that it is not life that can be unfair, but that we can be unfair to ourselves and each other. Most of what happens in our lives, especially as addicts, we bring upon ourselves. Understanding this is one of the many keys to successful sobriety. It is important because once we understand we have the power to fuck up our lives, we can then begin to see that we too have the power to make our lives great and something for which to be proud.


If you are new in your sobriety, this may not sound plausible, yet, but it will. Like anything else, it takes time to change years of negative thinking, but I promise you it is possible. I know this because I was one of the most negative thinkers. Just ask my therapist. I had an uncanny ability to see the negative in the world as well as in everyone around me and in myself. My therapist would chuckle every time I engaged in negative self-talk, she chuckled a lot. It was my natural go-to perception for most things and I did not understand those who could carry a more positive outlook; I envied them. It wasn't until I finally made the decision to let go of my addictions that I began to see that life was not against me, I was against myself and others. It was from this lens that I could finally see how my beliefs and actions were at fault for the undesired outcomes in my life and that a simple shift in my perception could perpetuate the opposite as well.


The problem with the victim mentality is that it offers no room for growth. If a bad thing happens I simply blame life, or people, or things and then chalk up my misfortune to the fact that life stinks. I learn nothing from the event and so that event occurs over and over and over. When I take ownership of the bad things that happen, it is in my best interest to try and understand why the bad thing occurred, what my role was in it, and how I can change in order to prevent it from happening again. I learn from each bad experience in my life instead of expecting bad experiences in my life to occur. When I own my role in the events taking place around me, I am then able to be fair to myself and others.


When life is sweet, say thank you celebrate. When life is bitter say thank you and grow. - Tiny Buddha