Life has not cheated you.
Because in order for it to have cheated you, it first needed to promise you something.
But nothing was promised, and so no fraud was committed.
It’s very hard for us to wrap our minds around this cold truth. Maybe because we enjoy being the victim of betrayal. Maybe because it reinforces our view of the world as an atrocious carnival of horrors that’s out to get us.
Maybe because complaining about life’s unfairness earns immediate attention and sympathy from others. Maybe because announcing that we’ve been cheated relieves us of the responsibility to grieve our losses, move on and live.
Maybe because tragedy is attached to our primary sense of identity, and we don’t know who we are without it.
Whatever our motivation is, odds are, it goes back to too much expectation and not enough enjoyment. Let’s think about that for a moment.
Whom do you know that seems to be deeply fulfilled with their lives? Does that person ever bemoan how they’ve been cheated by the demands life made on them?
Doubtful. They’re probably so grateful to be here, so grateful to be alive, that betrayal doesn’t even enter their minds. They don’t confine themselves by relying on rules that don’t exist, they celebrate the fact that they’re here to play the game.
Pay attention to these kinds of people. They prove that we cannot be cheated unless we are expecting something. If we only want to enjoy, the world’s response doesn’t matter. Or at the very least, it doesn’t disappoint us.
Poker Billy from SNL comes to mind, one of my favorite sketch comedy characters from the nineties.
He was a cowboy who didn’t understand how to play poker, and his card games always ended with him overturning the table, drawing his guns and yelling out, you cheating bastard!
During the sketch, the dealer was shuffling the cards, and the cowboy looks aghast.
Hey, what the hell are you doing? You’re mixing up all the cards?
The dealer says, it’s called shuffling, I do it before every game.
And the ignorant cowboy yells, yeah, well this time you got caught! You cheating bastard!
Far too many of us walk around the world with this mindset. Suspicious, expectant, seeing everything as a cheat and a conspiracy against us, living in a constant state of mild paranoia that someone is out to get us.
But it’s not. And they’re not.
We are the ones who are out to get ourselves.
Next time you feel cheated or mad at something because it didn’t bring you the joy that it promised, holster your weapons for a moment.
Maybe the fix isn’t in.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What if you could preclude the development of stress by deleting the expectations you hold in your mind?