I'm guessing we've all had some experience of that friend who always orders the most expensive item on the menu, who's never in time to pay for anyone's coffee or who disappears to the bathroom when it's their round. Or the tradesman who quotes but then under-delivers, or the golden child who can do no wrong.
So many situations in life can appear unfair, that we're being sidelined or disrespected. But just because we've been there the longest doesn't automatically mean we'll get the next promotion, just because we've spent a lot of time and effort on baking a cake means that it will turn out beautiful, or even edible!
How do we avoid becoming aggrieved, hurt or demotivated when we feel rejected, dismissed or undervalued, when every part of us is crying, 'how fair is our life?'
- We may see people who are better or worse off than us and wonder 'why me?' or even 'why not me?' But life is not always fair and even those who appear to have everything in life often have their own challenges and crosses to bear.
- Accept that not every decision, situation or choice that's being made is about you. There are often several other factors influencing the actions of others and only a few will relate directly to you.
- Are you almost unwittingly giving permission for unfair things to happen to you? We all have a personal responsibility to say how we feel, to object or at least comment if things are happening that we're unhappy about. Discussing feedback, saying that 'we need to talk' may provide an opportunity to discover how other people perceive the situation and how they want to handle matters. Mutual insight can make for better understanding.
- Keep a mental or even physical record of your successes. If you feel that you're in the midst of too much unfairness, stop and remind yourself of all your achievements and positive actions over the last few months, the breaks that have come your way.
I recall a time when professional CV writers were brought into a large organisation I used to work for back in the day. They were there to help any staff who were under threat of redundancy. When I read mine I didn't initially recognise myself in it! What they'd written was amazing. It's easy to take for granted or gloss over what we're good at but equally, if we're treated unfairly rather than focus on the negative we need to remind ourselves of our many varied capabilities and talents.
- Surround yourself with good friends, fans and ambassadors, people who recognise your worth and are happy to build you up. Negative people work as drains, depleting the energy and happiness from our life. Inject joy, in the form of positive people who like, respect and are enthusiastic about you, the people who may also sometimes push you, but who do it all with love and affection.
- Do things that you know you're good at. You may have a lovely way with people, children, animals, you may be good at sports, music, gardening, DIY. Doing things that boost your self-esteem and confidence helps you to see beyond any immediate unfairness or negativity and instead treat that as a minor irritation which does not impact on your mood or motivation levels.
- Accept praise and compliments. How often do we listen to criticism or negative remarks, even when they come from a lone voice in a sea of compliments and good wishes. It can become automatic to shrug off great remarks about our positive efforts and contributions, maybe suspecting that others are being polite or don't really mean what they're saying. While self-deprecation has its place, there are times, especially in potentially unfair situations, when it's important to accept positive feedback.
- Tell others what you've done, not in a big-headed or boastful way, but letting them see your input, the time and effort you've invested. It can be easy to assume that others already know what we've done, the hurdles we've navigated and overcome. But, that's not always the case. Allow others to be impressed by you, to value your skills, talents and energy and to follow-up with due appreciation and recognition.
- Why not highlight other people's unfair behaviour? They may have got so used to taking advantage, delivering short on your investment, treating you unfavourably, that they don't even recognise how badly they've been behaving. Call them out by recapping and reminding them about your original agreement or setup, simply excluding them from future plans, or saying, 'you deal with this, it's your turn now!' can deliver a significant wake-up call.
And remember that perspective is the key to how we react and respond to life experiences. One person may feel victimised and picked upon, whereas another may not care or even notice how they've been treated. If we're overtired or stressed we're likely to be more sensitive to negative things that happen to us and have a lower tolerance level. Practice good self-care, manage stress and you'll gradually realise that you're less aware of whether your life is 'fair' or not.
Susan Leigh, Altrincham, Cheshire, South Manchester counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer & media contributor offers help with relationship issues, stress management, assertiveness and confidence. She works with individual clients, couples and provides corporate workshops and support.
She's author of 3 books, 'Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact', '101 Days of Inspiration #tipoftheday' and 'Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain', all on Amazon & with easy to read sections, tips and ideas to help you feel more positive about your life.
To order a copy or for more information, help and free articles visit http://www.lifestyletherapy.net