Sometimes we want the world to be fair. Sometimes we want it so badly, we make ourselves miserable.
So now I’m going to talk about my kids to make a point… and also to talk about them, because I love them, and it makes me smile.
The Frustration of Inequality
My middle son, Tristan, sometimes gets frustrated that he behaves and yet my youngest son, Evan, struggles with controlling his anger at times. It becomes compounded when Tristan, fed up with the way his brother acts, reacts to his brother with sarcasm or mean-spirited jokes.
I try to explain to him that when we feed more negativity in, we get more negativity out. Instead, I explain, we need to add positivity into the mix. Unfortunately to him, that seems unfair. Evan is being mean, so Tristan feels he should be able to be mean back. Which is something I’m sure the Prodigal Son’s brother felt.
It’s Not Fair!
If you don’t recall the story of the Prodigal Son, here it is in a nutshell: a kid asked his dad for his inheritance and split. He went away for a long time, spent all his money, and then came crawling back to his dad, hoping to beg for mercy. His dad, however, was thrilled to see him alive and well. He threw a huge party for him.
Now PS’s brother was ticked. He was loyal, hardworking, and continued to help while his brother went off and wasted his dad’s money. He asked his dad why he made such a fuss about his son coming back. He felt like all this was totally unfair.
To him, his brother was irresponsible, blew through the family money, and made a mess of his life. He on the other hand did all the right things. Yet his dad was lavishing attention on his brother. How unfair!
It’s All in the View
Here’s the thing. It doesn’t matter how fair life is. If you focus on fairness, you will always be upset about what you don’t have. Someone will always have more. It will always be a competition to see what you are missing.
However, if you focus on happiness you will realize that as others around you are more fulfilled, you will likewise be more fulfilled. The Prodigal Son’s return made his dad happy. If his brother had realized this, he could have gained joy from this.
Tristan may not be happy that Evan is not always acting as he should. But when he approaches Evan with love and understanding, it’s only going to be better for Tristan. Even if it doesn’t happen right away, over time Evan will react more positively toward the more positive approach Tristan uses. It may not be fair, but Tristan will be happier.
So the real question for the brother, for Tristan, and for you is this: do you want life to be fair, or do you want to be happy? Because you can try to make it fair, and make yourself miserable, or you can try to make it great for those around you, and you can enjoy happiness.