Have you ever felt like you were being treated unfairly by someone, a group of people, or a society? I’m sure you have – at least a few times, if not a number of times. Regardless of your experience, let’s think about different kinds of unfair situations. I think they can be roughly divided into three different categories.
- being mistreated by an individual (including a friend, a family member, a teacher, etc.)
- being mistreated by an organization or a group (including work, school, etc.)
- being mistreated by society (including a community, a country, etc.)
In all the situations above, what is the most helpful thing to do? Of course, it is best to get away from harsh environment if it is possible to do so. You should not need any reasons to leave the abusive person, the group, or even the society if the situation does not improve. However, I understand it can be extremely challenging to get away from those situations or do anything about them.
If it’s impossible to keep a distance from an abusive person or a situation, then what should we do or how should we think? Before getting to the answer, here’s an interesting fact. Even though there is so much unfairness in this world, a lot of us still believe that we can achieve our goals or dreams if we just try hard(er). This may be true in some situations. However, it is very important to be aware that it does not always work that way for many different reasons. If the situation is really tough, you may feel like just giving up, thinking there’s nothing you can do. Well, is life really so black and white? I don’t think so – depending on the way we look at it.
Now, let’s look at a challenging situation (e.g., being treated unfairly) as a huge mountain you must climb. In order to climb it, the first thing you need to do is to prepare for the upcoming climbing trip carefully. It is critical to do the research, decide what to bring, and purchase the necessary equipment. This means that it is important to obtain information about the person or the entity you are fighting against. You may need to study the strategies to deal with a particular person or a group too. Secondly, it would be helpful to find a buddy to go on the climbing trip together. This means that finding an ally to solve the issue can help. Finally, pick the best route for you. As you know, there are many different routes to get to the top of a mountain, which means there are various ways to solve a problem. The key for success is to pick the one you believe you can achieve.
Even if you fail once, there’s no need to give up. You can simply try again. Sometimes you may need to try again and again as the only way to get better at climbing the mountains is to practice climbing. Once you start getting the hang of mountain climbing, you may even start enjoying it because you will understand how incredible you would feel when you get to the top. Trauma makes it difficult for people to practice “mountain climbing” as those who experienced huge trauma early in life would naturally expect the same to happen. They tend to assume that they would not be able to climb to the top, but that is not their fault. It may be hard, but it does not mean it is impossible to change this way of thinking. EMDR therapy is one of the ways to start changing it. Once the change starts happening, it is best to start practicing climbing small mountains first. One of the important points people realize when overcoming trauma is the fact that they have more choices as adults in terms of which mountains to climb, compared to before when they were children and had no choice. Once they are willing to do more practice, more successful experiences will naturally start happening in life, followed by more joy and ease.
Finally, here’s another point I wanted to make. Life is not so much about avoiding negative situations but about getting over them as they come. In other words, we all need to expect the issues and prepare to deal with them. If we concentrate only on trying to avoid adverse circumstances, we will live in constant fear. In that case, life may not be so fun because such an individual’s focus is only about avoiding negatives. Of course, it is wise to use precautions to avoid obvious danger in life, but if you think of it, it is simply not possible to prevent all the hardships in life. I’m sure you would agree that it is better to learn/figure out how to cope with emergencies or crises rather than being anxious all the time, thinking of ways to avoid them. That is the reason why many parenting experts say, “Let your child make mistakes,” so that they can learn how to get over life problems when they happen.
To be honest, I’m not a mountain climbing expert at all, and I find it hard to keep practicing it sometimes. So, I invite you to try above strategies with me, starting today 🙂