In matters large and small, we all want to see justice done. A lot of us, though, suffer greatly—more than actual situations call for—in seeing injustice, or what we identify as injustice, being done to others and in feeling it being done to ourselves.
We magnify injustices out of proportion, holding on fiercely to feelings such as being wronged, deprived, controlled, criticized, disrespected, or rejected. An example is the unfortunate partisan divide in American politics that is fueled, at least in part, by the willingness of people to complain about all the injustices that the other political side is allegedly inflicting upon them.
If we’re classic injustice collectors, we whine incessantly about the unfairness of life. We’re upset on a daily basis about all the affronts we have to endure. We’re figuratively dangling upside-down in a shaft of self-pity, clutching a charge sheet of outrages, piercing the darkness with night-vision goggles to see more “bad things” to moan and groan about.
Unconsciously, some dysfunctional people amass their collection of grudges the way a miser hoards his gold.
There are two kinds of injustices. The first is actual injustice caused by human folly or the capriciousness of life. Faced with this injustice, we know logically that it’s best to avoid extrapolating emotionally upon the sense of being victimized. If actual injustice is being done to us, we try to respond appropriately, which may include asserting our rights. At the same time, we strive to minimize the conflict or unpleasantness of the situation. We can, for instance, not take personally the malice or insensitivity of others. [Read more…]