Forgiveness and the Problem of Fairness

“It’s not fair. Why does the betrayed person have to do all the work?”

That’s the question a woman asked me after reading last week’s blog post in this series on forgiveness. And she’s not alone, is she? Because really, it’s human nature to feel that way. And the truth is that there is no one right answer to any forgiveness dilemma. There’s no “one size fits all.” For that matter, there’s no wrong answer either.

The thing is that, where forgiveness is concerned, the concept of fairness is basically irrelevant.

Because forgiveness, at least on the most practical level, is not about the other person; it’s about you. And if that’s the bad news, then the good news is that the power to reclaim and restore your serenity, inner peace, joy, and overall well-being is right in the palm of your hand.

A great teacher of mine used to say this: no matter how you got your problems, they’re still yours to solve.

No matter what anyone else did (or didn’t do), you get to choose how hard you’re willing to work to reclaim your basic right to enjoy your life.

Getting clear about your beliefs about the concept of fairness will take you a long way toward making choices that will bring you the relief you want, need, and deserve.

The thing about fairness is that it can be tricky. It’s an edgy concept. Most of us carry a lot of baggage around the whole idea of it. So the first step is to make sure you’re on top of your “stuff” about it: your beliefs, your thoughts, and your feelings about it. As you raise your awareness about all of that, you can begin to make some decisions about what you still want to keep and what you might want to let go. The thing that should be your guide is the way your belief(s) make you feel.

“Living well is the best revenge,” wrote the English poet George Herbert.

Leaving the concept of “revenge” aside for the moment, he was spot-on right. And if you want to live well, you’ve got to take a look at your beliefs about fairness.

Scroll down to listen to my podcast episode about fairness.

If you have a forgiveness dilemma you’d like to share, feel free. I’ll address it, minus identifying names and details, during the next few weeks of this series on forgiveness. Or if you’d like to speak with me privately, go ahead and send me a message and we’ll set up a time.

Remember that your serenity, inner peace, and joy don’t have to hinge on anyone else’s behavior. Try to notice when you’re digging in your heels, cutting off your nose to spite your face, or otherwise holding onto the very feelings you’re trying to let go of.

As always, remember to breathe.

Listen to this podcast on fairness.