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How do I overcome 'Heaven's reward fallacy'?

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The heaven's reward fallacy is the belief that positive actions will be rewarded. This is true in Christianity but also in secular thinking. Examples:

- I worked hard, I should get promoted 

- I was kind, they should be friendly towards me.

- I studied hard, I should get a good job.

- I spent a lot of time, money and effort on eating right and exercising hard- I should now be in good health.

- I am sensible and frugal, I should be financially secure.

or

 

- My aunt should not have manipulated me.

- my husband should not have betrayed me.

- that pastor should not have stolen from my bank account when I let him use my card to put fuel in the church van. People still pat him on the back and everyone says he is amazing.

- my doctor should have diagnosed me correctly. Other doctors later showed he was negligent.

 

However, in real life there is no one keeping score. Shitty things happen to good people and vice versa.

 

The examples above are just some of the things that have been eating me up.(the pastor example was changed - what he did was worse).

Before, I would be comforted to think 'God has a plan,' 'his ways are not our ways', ''vengeance is mine', sayeth the Lord.' Pie in the sky when you die. Now I am eaten up because things are shitty and unfair and I can't get past that.

 

How can I reframe these thoughts?

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People don't get what they deserve. The just get what they get.

 

The idea that anyone us entitled to anything is simply incorrect. I'm alive, and my life doesn't completely suck. That alone makes me one of the very lucky ones. It isn't terribly comforting to think this way, but I think it's a much more accurate approach.

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I'm the girl with the pessimistic heart so I naturally expect that life is unfair now. But with my efforts of optimism and hopefulness which I force upon myself, (along with a friendly face!) I fight hard for what I want (while hoping to get whatever it is I'm fighting for) and get away from anything that does not bring me peace. I also accept that things won't always work out the way one wants. I use the word 'prefer' instead of 'should' now.

 

I would prefer to get the job.

I would prefer that nobody betrays me.

I would prefer that people like me.

I would prefer that I get promoted. 

I would prefer that the weather is good.

 

 But if 'prefer' still isn't working, that's when I look at what I can possibly change. That's when I fight for what I really want. I am the only one who has the power to make things change. If I can't change it, I have to leave it alone and accept that some things just won't work out. Cold, hard facts they are. (hug)

 

Back to the ole serenity prayer...the atheist serenity prayer......s-l300.jpg

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There's no god to judge so you can judge for yourself. Don't like something? You don't need to associate with it, then. There will be consequences but you're free to judge their weight as well.

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Now I am eaten up because things are shitty and unfair and I can't get past that.

 

Life by its very nature is neither fair nor unfair; it just is.

 

Is it "fair" that I was born into a middle class white family in America during prosperous times while some other guy was born into a dirt poor, disease ridden, oppressed family of 17 somewhere in Bumfuckistan? Is it "fair" that the weakest in the herd get eaten by predators?

 

There is no "fair" in nature, humans invented the concept but can't create the reality.

 

Welcome to Earth!

 

 

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I am using cognitive behavioural therapy to help with depression. Thanks for all your help. So far, I have reframed the statements as follows;

 

People don't get what they deserve, they get what they get. I am one of the lucky ones not to be in immediate material want. I am alive. I will work daily to improve my life. I will work towards having the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change what I can and the noodle to know the difference.

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Humans seem to generally want reality to conform to their ideals. It's a random universe and the luck of the draw is reality. It doesn't seem "fair."

 

I'm convinced this dilemma is a primary reason we have developed concepts of religion and spirituality. It is a way we can imagine there is "justice" in the end and the scales will ultimately balance. To wildly varying degrees, things won't go our way at times. We make up shit to feel better about it; the karma concept, what goes around comes around, everything happens for a reason, when one door closes another opens, god will reward you when you die, the evil people will burn in hell, etc.

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It's true that there is no fair reward system. However, it is true that good things tend to happen to people who work hard, and lazy jerks tend to get back what they give. People aren't always in control of their own lives, but those who believe that they can control what is likely under their influence, such as how people treat them and whether they get a good job, most often succeed at what they want. Life is so often unpredictable and unfair that the only way to keep your sanity is to live by the ounce of truth that you are in charge of what happens to you.

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I think the mistake that a lot of people make is to think of the world in black and white terms.  There is very little in life that is a straight yes/no question, there are shades of grey to everything.  The truth is you can increase your chances at positive things happening but can't guarantee them.

- I worked hard, I have a 60% better chance to get promoted 

- I was kind, the majority of people should be friendly towards me.

- I studied hard, my improved education increases my chance to get a good job.

As long as you consider the work put in only increases the chances of improvement, but that effort is worthwhile to make our lives and the world around us a better place.

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All you can do is improve the odds of a good outcome by acting in a certain way, or (conversely) make a bad outcome more likely.

 

I don't smoke.  Never have.  I am less likely to die of lung cancer,  It's not guaranteed I won't.

 

"Fairness" is merely a misunderstanding of the way that the odds work out.  It persuades us that an outcome is somehow "correct" when, in fact, it is merely "more likely than if I acted otherwise".

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People will respond to you however they want, not how you "expect" them to.  We have no real ability to influence others' actions.

 

Things happen.  People react how they want.  

 

Like others said above, most of the time things go how we predict they might (i.e., if you smile and say something nice to someone, chances are they will smile and say something nice back) but there is no 100% (i.e., you could smile and the other person can do absolutely anything they want).

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I would ask yourself what u expect? Do u expect life to be easy? For there to be no challenges? And what would a life like that get u?

Have goals. Nothing in life worth having is easy. Do ur best and don’t stop to worry about who sees it. Who is going to commend u on a job well done. Lots of people constantly feel undefended, unappreciated, discouraged or devalued. But we go on and mostly without anyone recognizing our achievements. Is that fair no. But what would life look like if we spend all day commenting on every little bit of good someone else was doing instead of actually being the one doing the good. Who has time for drowning themselves in sorrows who could actually be out there and be a game changer for

themselves and a whole lot of other people. 

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This is a "dead" thread. The person who started it hasn't been back for almost 3 years.  Why don't you go to INTRODUCTIONS and introduce yourself.

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