Many of the complaints that we psychologists address to people who come for consultation refer to “how unfair it is that my partner has left me”, the injustice of seeing how “the job has been for someone else and not for me”, or to think that “there is no right for so-and-so to behave that way with me”.
Injustices: a painful reality with which we must live
In our daily life there are many such reflections that lead us to value what happens to us in terms of justice , as if the personal fulfilment and happiness of each one of us could be measured in our perception of the just and unjust events that happen to us. Some years ago, some of the most renowned authors in the world of psychology (Albert Ellis, Wayne Dyer) explained to us how the so-called “justice trap” works, and they already told us that it works as a cognitive distortion or, in other words, as an error of thought.
The so-called fallacy of justice consists of the tendency to value as unjust everything that does not coincide with personal desires . Through this type of thinking we consider everything that does not coincide with our way of seeing things to be unjust.
Rethinking our perception of injustice
And in this evaluation of established injustice, many are immobilized, trapped by frustration and resorting to the internal dialogue of complaint and laziness in which, when one settles down, one only obtains sadness, despondency…
At this point, it does not make much sense to change our way of seeing things, if I start from the premise that “it is not fair that that place is not mine with what I have studied” and we repeat it to ourselves in each failed convocation to pass my competitive examination, are we favouring a solution to our problem, are we generating a constructive dialogue with ourselves and aimed at improving in the aspects that are necessary to pass that examination? No! We are only complaining! And that complaint can fulfil its therapeutic function in the short term as an outlet, but when we normalise and establish it, there lies the problem …
5 strategies for dealing with injustice
Studying hard for an exam or behaving well with others cannot be the passport to perceiving it as unfair not to get a place in an exam or a bad reaction from a friend. These are realities that simply happen and that we cannot have 100 percent under control .
What alternatives could we consider?
1. differentiate what I want vs. what is unfair
Wanting something with all our might doesn’t make it more possible for you to have it. This reality would have certain implications for our inner dialogue, so it would be appropriate to change the “it is an injustice” to “it is a pity” or to “I would prefer it”.
2. Things can happen differently than we would like
Working with our unachieved goals as an excuse to improve and not to use them against us. If wanting something leads you to fight and work for that goal, complaining about the injustice of not achieving it and tormenting yourself about it takes you far away from your goal .
3. Others have the right to present opinions different from mine
Why do we embark so often on trying to change the opinions of others? We should free ourselves from the yoke of single thinking and encourage everyone to say what they want about any issue. Self-centeredness is not going to help us.
4. Choosing to act, not to observe and analyze
When we stop to analyze what’s going on and don’t get out of there, we’re blocking ourselves. Betting on action will lead us to opt for what we want , if you need your partner to change something, ask him/her, if you want that position, study and keep trying!
5. Stop seeking equity in our relationships with others
If I choose to behave well with someone and be generous , I can’t get repeatedly frustrated when others don’t act as I would like them to , when we look for that equal sharing of “I give you” and “you should give me” we are losing our way. If I choose to be generous I have to keep in mind that it is a personal choice, and that it is my responsibility to decide to change my attitude towards that person or to continue being as I am.
Possible reflections and conclusions
Above all, it should be noted that in order to get out of the slavery of perceived injustice we can only do so if we recover the protagonism of our life and stop comparing ourselves with others all the time.
Considering the reality around us in which not even the judges themselves have a unique and objective vision of what is just and unjust, why should we insist on wasting our time in imparting justice around us?