News Flash – Life Is Not Fair
Life is not fair. It’s sad, but it’s true. It’s probably one of the most important lessons you can learn early in life. Of course, it isn’t the most important life skill that you can learn. No, that is learning to live life on life’s terms. That’s where you’ve been going wrong, isn’t it? You’ve been trying to do it on your terms, haven’t you?
The phrase living on life’s terms is most commonly associated with addiction programs. It sounds like a surface-level comment that doesn’t run that deeply.
Yet, that phrase has made a massive difference in the lives of all the people who needed to overcome addiction. For them, the issue with their illness is an inability to accept reality.
They can’t accept that they have a problem, all they want is for things to be different. Instead of working towards healing, they do what many people do, think about their problems.
They think about what things should be like instead. Rarely do they ever see things for what they really are. This behavior isn’t reserved for addicts. It’s something many of us are guilty of.
The Delusions We Create
We are all guilty of creating scenarios in our mind about how life should look. Then, we live in the delusion we have created and are stunned to realize it was a façade. We’ve rendered ourselves powerless. For addicts, they begin to face reality once they are sober. That’s when they start to embrace living life on life’s terms.
For you, that moment is now. You can’t control everything in life. Sometimes you have to learn to surrender and go with the flow. It won’t be as difficult as you suspect. As you get started, you will find life getting better naturally because you aren’t wasting all of your energy trying to manipulate or control every situation. Life is going to carry you where it’s going to carry you and fighting it will tire you out.
That’s just the beginning, though.
For addicts, it gets more difficult because it’s easier to stay sober when life is easy. When life throws problems in your way, it becomes a different story. That’s what life does. If life was a roller coaster, it would be packed with massive highs, sinking lows, and more twists and turns than the human body could handle.
You can’t predict what life will throw at you. No one plans for job loss, no one expects to lose a loved one or to go through a heavy breakup. These are all situations in which we are forced to live life on life’s terms. Forced to cope with the unforeseen.
This is never easy to face. When we go through periods of trouble like this, our immediate response is life isn’t fair. It’s not. Yet, despite this knowledge, we still get angry when life turns up. It is particularly difficult to deal with life derailments when we feel in control. When we feel as though everything is heading in the right direction. Our impulse is to grab hold of something to try to manage the situation. All we want to do is avoid pain.
Yet, this tends to cause more pain. Why? Because we hurt ourselves in an attempt to regain control, feverishly searching for an outcome to obtain our ideal result. Or, we inflict pain on others trying to force them to fall in line as we wish them to act.
For example, you lose your job. Your immediate reaction is to figure out how to get that job back. Or, to look for someone to blame. You want to lash out at that person.
Your partner has broken up with you, and your response is as above. You try to figure out how to get them back. Or, you look to lash out at them and hurt them for hurting you.
At no point in any of these situations do we consider living life on life’s terms. It’s impossible for us to just accept the lemons that life has thrown at us. Instead, we create more trouble.
Life doesn’t owe you anything. You aren’t entitled to a job. You’re not entitled to a newly built 5-bedroom, 4-bathroom house. You’re not entitled to a romantic relationship. Life is what it is. It’s as you live it. It’s going to throw you a curveball when you expect a fastball. It’s that roller coaster.
The series of jarring loops, ups, downs, and everything in-between. No matter how hard you try to control things, you have very little control over it. You can’t control what comes your way. You can make a series of decisions that will hopefully lead you to quell your desires and achieve your wants. That doesn’t mean it will always turn out as you expect. Understanding this, it makes it a little easier to accept life for what it is. That doesn’t mean it’s easy
Now, you might not be dealing with addiction, but you can still learn to live life on life’s terms. You may be able to cope with what life throws at you without spiraling into a pit of self-destruction. Yet, there’s a good chance you do self-destruct. Yours is just on a different level than that of an addict.
You might not drink yourself to the brink of death, but there is a good chance that you drink too much. You can build your delusion much like an addict, but your delusion won’t lead you to an early death from overdoing it.
Yet, a delusion is still a delusion. You are wasting your mental energy by creating these delusions. More importantly, you’re wasting your life by living in these delusions.
There’s another aspect of living life on life’s terms that you should consider. We often feel as though we’re missing out on something. When we live in the moment, we feel like there’s something more. When we plan for everything, we feel as though there’s something more. We’re never quite content with what we have.
This distorted view of the world tells you lies about what you deserve, what your life should look like. We’re always just waiting.
We wait for things to happen. That isn’t living life on life’s terms, it’s letting life pass you by. If you don’t accept life as it is, you are essentially actively ignoring life instead.
You decide if your life is boring as is and make the wrong choices to enhance it. If you make the wrong enhancement choices, you just miss out on the real opportunities that life is tossing your way.
It Is What It Is
This rallying cry is a statement of acceptance. There’s a tinge of displeasure in there, but ultimately, it is acceptance. It’s one thing to know something, it’s quite another to get to the other side. That’s the difference between knowledge and acceptance.
Acceptance is the point you reach after working through your emotions, accepting it, and refocusing on what you can do. It is what it is. You know what you can’t do now, but what can you do? That’s really the best way to sum up the idea of living life on life’s terms.
You can be mindful because you have learned that what you won’t accept will just continue to beat you up until you eventually give in. Much like an older sibling forcing you to say uncle.
How can you accept something that is unacceptable to you? Of course, this will depend on what it is. However, you have to acknowledge and accept that you’re powerless to change this. That doesn’t mean that you are helpless, it doesn’t mean you’re hopeless, it just means you cannot control it.
It isn’t what you want it to be… but, maybe it’s how it’s supposed to be.
How will you ever be happy if you are unable to accept life on life’s terms? You can’t. You won’t be happy if you are fully focused on trying to change everything around you and unable to recognize your role.
Learning to live life on life’s terms is rooted in a change of attitude. We allow our attitude to stand in our way. We blame others, we wallow in negative emotions, and we focus all of our energy on the things that we can’t do or can’t change. All of that is just creating anxiety, it’s stressing you out, and making you feel depressed. It’s just a waste of energy, and all because you are resisting life as it is.
It’s important to recognize the difference between problems and inconveniences. Your basic needs are a roof over your head, the ability to maintain it, and having food to eat. If those basic needs are taken care of then you don’t really any problems.
Rather, you have inconveniences. It might seem weird to think of it in these terms because those inconveniences sure do feel like problems. The point is that it comes down to your perspective. You choose to limit your perspective which causes you to have a bad attitude.
- You can change your attitude, you have the power to do this, and by doing this you can learn to live life on life’s terms.
- You can feel angry if you experience a serious injustice. You have the right to experience the emotions that you do. Likewise, you have the right to overcome them and heal.
- You can overcome. You can transform.
- You can choose growth, or you can choose to stay stuck. With life comes experience, and with experience, we learn. Acceptance might be optional, but it’s a choice you can make daily.
A Tall Order
Getting started with living life on life’s terms is the easy part, maintaining it is a tall order. There are some things that you have to accept before you can do so. Life comes with terms and conditions, like everything else.
Those conditions include your desire, intentions, and actions, as well as fate. You can define fate as the things or events that are outside of your control. Fate will largely outweigh your desires, intentions, and actions. That’s just the facts of life.
In the face of defeat, failure, betrayal, loss, illness or injury, you still have to look after yourself. That is one way of looking at living life on life’s terms. You act because you have no other choice, essentially.
There are three ways we tend to resist living life on life’s terms.
A common response to the danger of life is to protest it. We feel compelled to protest the very nature of fate. It’s entirely rooted in an illusion. We, for some reason, convince ourselves that we don’t have to play the game of life on life’s terms. It creates this adversarial relationship and we think we are powerful enough to protest it.
So, this protest is holding you back from all of the positive aspects of life, too. You’re not acting out on your desires or intentions. You’re not really creating your life story. You’re protesting all of life and you will always feel as though you are in the wrong story.
The Sovereignty of Desire
You can ignore life on life’s terms by deciding that there is sovereignty in your desire. You feel like this is a heroic decision. A decision where you pretend as though you are in control of events and people that are completely beyond your control.
This belief is energized by your arrogance and your avoidance of feeling scared or helpless. Fate offers a plethora of opportunities, whether they lead to failure or success. Defeat should open your mind to the idea of living life on life’s terms. Failure is inevitable and it’s something to overcome, not something to keep you down.
You can check out and refuse to live life on life’s terms when you decide it’s just too big. It’s too much to tackle. Like the small child who is watching their game unfold in a way they hadn’t imagined. So, they take their ball and they go home.
That’s what this avoidance tactic essentially is. It’s the adult version of taking your ball and going home. You convince yourself that you can avoid the negative feelings that stem from failure by just avoiding it all. You can just live life passively.
The reality is that you are betraying yourself if you forsake your intentions and desires. You lose self-respect for yourself, you destroy your confidence, and you resent the people who you feel are inflicting their desires on you. Yet, you’re the one who made this choice.
Living Life On Life’s Terms: The Benefits
What’s so great about living life on life’s terms? Well, there are plenty of benefits actually.
Living life on life’s terms lets you get in touch with your true desires.
You will experience total fulfillment when you learn to live in your own story. Living a life of desire requires identifying desire and acting in ways that support that desire. Beyond that, we learn to be grateful for every opportunity that allows us to manifest these desires.
It also enlightens us on how we can be clear and concrete with the requests we make of others. Additionally, living life on life’s terms helps us cope with the need for delayed gratification.
Living life on life’s terms allows you to accept your role.
The world is a large place, there are over seven and a half billion people living in it. You are just a small piece of the puzzle. Character actor Konstantin Stanislavski said, “there are no small parts, only small actors.” Taking it further, bit actor Dabbs Greer said, “Every character actor, in their own little sphere, is the lead.” In your story, you are the lead. In the big picture, though, you have a small role to play.
That’s okay. Understanding this will deepen your capacity for honesty and humility. It’s also embracing the fact that your largest achievements in life will likely go unnoticed.
Living life on life’s terms allow you to experience serenity.
By calling off the protest, by giving up trying to control what is not yours to control, you invite calm.
With living life on life’s terms comes reverence. You will now stand in awe at just how immense fate is. It is vast and mysterious, and that’s something to revere.
Learning to live life on life’s terms is your opportunity to learn.
You can appreciate just how much life offers you to learn. When fate stands between you and your desires, you have the chance to learn about acceptance, love, compassion, forgiveness, self-awareness, patience, seeking support, and surrender.
Learning to live life on life’s terms means continually learning how to live. You would think that should come to you immediately and automatically, wouldn’t you?
Yet, we have to define ourselves in order to move forward. We define ourselves as being too great and struggle to conquer life. Or, we define ourselves as being too small and derail our path to desire. So, we have to learn to live again.
At no point does it come naturally. We often hold onto living a life that we wrongly sized. Within you, you have the fire of desire. This fire can light your path. When you marry that to acceptance what you have is a life that you’re living on life’s terms. That, my friends, is a life well-lived.
Can you even imagine the freedom that comes from letting go of control? It sounds terrifying, right? Do you know what’s more terrifying? The fact that you believe you are the one holding the reins.
The fact that you believe you are the one in control. You can only control you. Everything outside of your person is outside of your control. Even though you control you, you still can’t control what happens to you from external sources. That might be frustrating to accept, but in doing so you are relieving stress.
Perhaps even more importantly, you are letting yourself off the hook. It’s that self-forgiveness we discussed earlier. We hold ourselves to such high standards. Often, when we fail to achieve those standards, we beat ourselves up. You don’t deserve that. Give yourself a break.
Do you know who else doesn’t deserve to be beaten up over failing to achieve the standards of perfection that you set? Everyone else in your life who you have convinced yourself you control and hold to those same standards. You’re creating strife and stress for everyone around you. You are robbing others of the opportunity to live life on life’s terms by refusing to live life on life’s terms.
So, you are essentially using your sphere of influence for “evil.” It’s not intentional, but the damage is still being done. In learning to live life on life’s terms you extend freedom and forgiveness to yourself.
That in itself can create a ripple effect in your sphere of influence. Letting go of control is one of the most powerful and productive decisions that you can make for yourself. So, what are you waiting for?
How To: Living Life On Life’s Terms
When you choose to live life on life’s terms it’s a kindness to yourself. It’s a reflection of your acceptance. It strengthens your ability to discern and this will only deepen your acceptance of life as it is. There are key focuses involved.
- You must actively choose to call off the protest. It’s time to stop protesting the nature of life. You have to accept that life is unpredictable. Nothing is secure.
- You must be willing to continue your development in discerning what you can and cannot control. Unfortunately, this is one of those lessons that lasts a lifetime. When you are filled with ego, you slip into the belief that you control more than you can.
If your ego is too small, you fall into the trap of thinking you control nothing. There’s a balance to be struck. You cannot control life, but you can control you. Understanding this is key to living life on life’s terms.
- Continuing in that vein, you must accept how little of life is within your control. You must possess an ever-evolving humility that allows you to accept your limits. In this, you won’t see things outside of your control as unfortunate. You’ll see it as an opportunity.
- You need to reach a point where taking risks doesn’t inflict fear. Fear holds you back. When you take a risk and fail, often what we fear most is the reaction of others and how we will treat ourselves in retaliation. To learn to live life on life’s terms you have to forgive yourself, even if the actions you take don’t result in the results you desire.
- Make a list of your life circumstances. List every reality that is your life, and in every part of your life, including, social, personal and professional. Then mark those circumstances that you fight the most. Begin to work on those right away.
You don’t have to be trying to overcome an addiction to learn to live life on life’s terms. This is something we can all learn and embrace for ourselves. The basic premise of it is that we acknowledge how much bigger life is than we are.
While it’s easier said than done, it’s an important step in life. Once you understand that you don’t control everything, that you can’t, you can move on from the stagnation you once embraced.
The fact that life isn’t fair is a reasonable assertion. It’s a fact. If you feel as though your life should be fundamentally different than it is, then one has to question why.
Does that come from your sense of entitlement?
Or, are you recognizing how you have been living in defiance of fate and nature?
Do you possess the illusion of power?
Do you think things are within your control when they’re clearly not?
Your desires are important but stating your intentions cannot and will not override fate. Your desires, intentions, and actions form part of what it truly means to live.
However, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that they take precedence. They don’t. Fate will always be in the driver’s seat. Once you learn to accept this basic truth, you can let go of the anger you often feel at life throwing you curveballs.
It’s scary. When you refuse to accept that life is driven by fate you may feel as though you can’t go on. Life can be overwhelming; it can feel like it’s too much. This type of fatalism forces you to let go of desires and instead succumb to fate.
This is the defining yourself as too small we mentioned. Fate is the overriding factor in life, but your desires, intentions, and actions absolutely matter. You can life live on life’s terms without allowing a strong current to wash you away. It’s about making the most of your experience in life.
Living life on life’s terms isn’t letting go and letting life take over. It’s about recognizing the power fate has and understanding that your desires will be forced into the backseat.
You can plan and plan, but life doesn’t care about your plans. When life derails your plans, you can’t allow your life to be derailed by it. You just have to go with the flow and rework your plan. Your plans should be fluid.
You can know your desires, you can set your intentions, you can act as necessary, but be prepared for anything. Essentially, learning to live life on life’s terms means that you’re flexible, adaptable, and ready to tackle anything life can throw at you. Are you up to the challenge?
Live well and take care!