Life Isn’t Fair, Live to Make It Fairer

I think most people know that life isn’t fair, whether in English, in another language via an analogous expression, and/or intuitively. Yet, I’ve rarely heard anyone respond to life isn’t fair with fighting words. I’ve only generally heard people begrudgingly agree with the statement and/or curse the fact.

I was once one of those people who only ever agreed with the life isn’t fair idiom, accepting it as conventional wisdom. That was until one day in my early 30s, when I was bemoaning some grave unfairness in life. At one point in a typical psychotherapy style conversation I often have with myself to debrief matters about which I’m not happy, my defiant side came out to challenge the victim me to ask So what? What are you going to do about it? Everything then changed, with me not being the type to back down from a good challenge.

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Treat Everyone Fairly, Not Equally

Do you still think of treating everyone equally as the way to attain a just society? If you don’t, can you describe how people should be treated to attain said just society?

Long before recent memes showing the difference between equality and equity came out, I realized they were different, even if I could not articulate it. As a child in a family that barely scraped by in Communist Viet Nam, I saw adult and child beggars, and understood they needed more help than my family, with the child beggars needing even more since nobody took care of them as my Parents took care of me. I remember asking my Mom to help feed some children beggars, to whom I could relate more than the adult beggars in being a child, while rarely asking her to help the adult beggars, all the while not realizing how vulnerable we actually were ourselves. My poor Mom was torn between the compassion she saw in me, and her inability to always show that compassion at the expense of our family’s survival, while unwilling to tell me the full and true nature of our family’s situation to justify this.

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The Best Thing You Can Give Someone, Including Yourself, is a Chance

What’s the best thing you can give someone? Love? Time? Kindness? There’s no answer to that question that is 100% correct, but I’m going to make a case for a chance because it could represent all those other things, while allowing someone to form part of their identity to someone else.

Growing up, the thing I wanted the most often was a chance to do something, for which I was often denied. Sometimes this was for good reasons like lack of family finances. Other times, it was not, like discrimination on my ethnicity or small stature. However, I was fortunate to have been given the chance to do a lot of things, many of which I didn’t ask for, but for which I am most grateful. That’s why when I saw a quote in my early 20s stating the best thing you can give someone is a chance, unsourced, I embraced it as a life philosophy. It generally worked well, except one question irked me. What if nobody gave me a chance to do what I wanted, whether nobody present to do so, or nobody because someone denied me the chance?

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