I’ve spent a lot of time hearing, “Life isn’t fair; get used to it.” I believe life can be hard. I believe that bad things happen to good people much more than is right. Both these things come to me from experience. But I refuse to believe that life is unfair or that I must get used to it. I know some might think this makes me unrealistic, naive, even deluded – but I call it faith. The idea that life, that every single person’s life, has some fundametnally unfair nature, is absurd to me.
I believe in God, though I admit I have no idea what He is. I believe that we cannot exist simply to be miserable. People, today more than ever, think that “accepting” the bad in life makes them grown-up, mature, rational. Many people that I see seem to want to be miserable, as if through this they are validated. They revel in the things they can complain about. I do not understand this. Perhaps being unhappy, and scared, is safer than taking the chance to believe that someone or something else will not let you down.
I choose to be optimistic, to focus on the good things. I am not, as this might imply, happy all – or much, it often seems – of the time, but I consider myself basically happy. I believe it is not life that is unfair; unfairness comes from unhappy, malicious, and greedy people. And yet I believe that people are basically good. Call it faith. There are exceptions, but I think that most people are good even if they act badly sometimes. I think that many of the problems in the world may be attributed to bad luck, but that we do not appreciate enough the good luck we have – more good luck than bad. We do not appreciate the things that are miraculous in our lives; good luck is the smallest example of that.
I am not religious; I do not believe that all blessings come from God – some miracles are spontaneous. I will not preach. But I wish that people would choose to be happy despite unhappy things. I know I have had more problems in my life that many people I know who are despondent. I wish people could see that good luck is everywhere, that we are not meant to be unhappy, that life is not conspiring against us. I understand that not everyone is always strong enough to keep the bad out; some of us never are or will be. Maybe it is good for us to indulge in the bad sometimes. But I believe that everyone had potential, everyone can be more than what they are. I think that hard work is one of the best things a person can possess; no one ever has nothing if they have hard work, and a little good luck. Which is everywhere, by the way. You can’t miss it.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.