Fair and Equal

I had a conversation with a client this past week with about things not always being equal, and that a source of a lot of her pain was the drive for that elusive illusion of equal. It prompted me think about the number of times that people are looking for fair or equal. What if we were okay with equality not actually being equal? Are you okay with things ‘not being equal?” And what does that even mean?

I remember saying to my children many times as they were growing up that “nobody promised fair”. At the time it was a way to get them to stop complaining about a brother getting something they did not. But the thing is, there were always circumstances where one of them needed something that another did not.  Really, nobody promised equal or fair, but it seems that a large part of our expectations are built on these  two principals.  And of course equal and fair are really just an opinion, based on an individual set of beliefs and an individual understanding of the situation at hand. The problem with each of these, is that they are a judgement of having-ness or not having-ness. And they can only be processed from our very limited perspective of the world.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         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EXAMPLE. Is it fair or equal if one person in a group gets ‘special’ food? To some the answer would be obvious, of course that is not fair. But let’s look a little closer, maybe that person received ‘special’ food was due to their food allergies that limit them from enjoying the majority of foods that others take for granted. So then the question can be asked again from a different perspective. Is that fair that they have to live with these dietary restrictions day after day, year after year?

As you can see from just this one small example, the situation has nothing to do with fair or with equal, it has to do with individuality and each persons needs, experiences, lessons, and learning.  Neither situation is fair, or unfair, they just are. It is what we do with these situations that becomes defining. Do we look at others experiences and compare ourselves, feeling inferior or superior? Or do we understand that we can never know the full story for someone else and that we are in truth all deserving of equality even if the current events may not indicate that?

When considered from this perspective of equality, not equal, very quickly the words fair and equal become completely irrelevant in our day to day experience. In order to even begin to compare if things are fair and equal all factors must match exactly for each person. As soon as even one factor does not match, there can no longer be a comparison of any relevance.

Which means all of our judgements around fair or equal actually have very little relevance. So rather than concerning self with fair or equal, it is much more beneficial to approach things from a place of understanding. Understanding that we really don’t know the details of what is going on in another’s world, what they are learning right now, and what is happening for them. Which can then bring us to a place of compassion rather than judgement. A more supportive personal approach is to simply determine what you as an individual requires to feel supported, regardless of what others are getting or not getting; doing or not doing.

What is it that you are currently experiencing in the world that works for you, and what are you experiencing that does not? That may even feel unfair or unequal? What would you choose to experience in the world instead? Would it be okay to vibrate this more positive, supportive experience and allow it to begin to show up in your life? For some this maybe a much bigger shift in perspective than for others, but we all need to start somewhere. Notice if there is any resistance to having a fulfilling and joyful life, there is your key.

In conclusion, I am suggesting there is a lot of energy expended in trying to make everything homogenous and the same, when in truth no two individuals or their needs will ever be exactly the same. Time to accept and respect others as they are, and know that your experience is and always will be different than everyone else’s – and that is OKAY!

Please note: These musing are NOT about equality, I am a strong proponent of equality and fair treatment for all beings regardless of race, gender, orientation or circumstance. I am not suggesting it is acceptable to be racist, sexist, elitist or condescending in any way. I am referring to an individuals personal experience of what constitutes fair and equal or the ‘Keeping Up with the Jones’ syndrome.